Framing Sentiment

Kurt Vonnegut once said when explaining the structures of narratives, “And if I die — God forbid — I would like to go to heaven to ask somebody in charge up there, ‘Hey, what was the good news and what was the bad news?’” In his blend of witty cynicism and existential crisis, Vonnegut asked a question that is the crux of many literary arguments— does the plot revealed reflect the sentiment of the overall story? Vonnegut’s question and subsequent explanation of graphing narration influenced and inspired Matthew Jockers, a professor of literary studies at the University of Lincoln-Nebraska, who created the Syuzhet Program, an R based code that graphs the sentiment of a text, revealing the plot. He named his program based on the Russian Formalist’s understanding of syuzhet (story) and fabula (plot) and has improved its ability to discern sentiment throughout a text. However, novels are rarely explained in the chronological order of the story, and are often presented out of order or in frames. By visualizing the separate frames of the three implied narrators in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or; The Modern Prometheus (1818 edition) and comparing those frames to the overall sentiment based plot of the entire narrative, the implied author’s power to change the sentiment of the plot, regardless of the story, will be revealed.

Literary Background (Paragraphs 2+3)

  • Give background on Russian Formalists.
    • Propp
    • Genette

Enter Frankenstein (Paragraphs 4, 5, 6)

  • Discuss framework of Frankenstein in relation to overall story.
  • Analyze from Formalists interpretive tools.
    • Focusing on Genette’s Mood, Voice, and Order

Digital Humanities (Paragraphs 7, 8, 9) 

  • Section to be peer reviewed as I am worried I am either too technical or too general and need confirmation that this makes sense.
  • Explain Syuzhet.
  • General Frankenstein graphs.
  • Sneak peaks:

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 9.35.55 PM


Frames of Sentiment Analysis (assuming about 4-5 paragraphs)

  • Haven’t finished this section yet.
  • Includes all the framing graphs.
  • Compares graphs to each other and overall story.
  • Sneak peak: (Creature’s narrative in red/Victor Part 1 in blue)

Creature (red) vs. Victor (blue)

What went wrong/what could go wrong/what is wrong? (1 paragraph)

  • This will be a slight reiteration of an earlier paragraph where I describe the issues the program presents but I will further connect it to the text and to literary analysis as a whole.

Why? (1 paragraph)

  • This could get lumped into the above paragraph or the conclusion.
  • Why is using this program helpful or important to the study of Frankenstein.

Conclusion (1 paragraph)

Where I’ll be by the time we reach my conclusion.








My draft is currently at 10 pages, so I am not worried about length at this point, more clarity and purpose. I’m sorry if my outline is less formal than most– unfortunately this is how I outline. Excited to read everyone’s posts!

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