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Team Project: Big Brot(her)s (redirected from Team Project: The Big Brothers)

Page history last edited by Alan Liu 5 years, 10 months ago

Big Brot(her)s: Nations, History, and the 20th Century Age of Fear

Team Members: Max HillmanWeslina Hung, Rosalie ImlerPriscilla LeungSpencer Philips

+ Honorary Member Liz Shayne


The idea of "utopia" has always been present in our minds and in our dreams. It represents the ideal world which we would like to see duplicated in reality. Since Thomas More's 1516 fictional travelogue and political commentary, the utopian genre has been utilized as a tool in attempting to galvanize change. As literature evolved through time, fewer and fewer utopian worlds were imagined, and in their place arose the nightmare twin: The dystopia, or anti-utopian novel.


The 20th Century saw a great number of these pessimistic versions of the ideal world, and this trend can be directly correlated to  historical events of the century. Two World Wars and the lengthy Cold War left deep scars in the minds of the people living through them. The fast-paced advance of human technology and industry had created war weapons capable of unprecedented destruction. Humans were capable and seemed likely to be the agents of their own demise. Thus, the vast majority of the literary works studied in the Big Brot(hers) project exemplify contemporary anxieties about two powerful world factions at war (US vs. USSR) and the threat or results of nuclear warfare. This project attempted to study the historical events inspiring specific thematic elements in dystopias (such as environmental destruction, government surveillance, a loss of individualism) as well as the specific words and phrases utilized by authors in creating their speculative future world. Then, a text-based create-your-own-adventure game with multiple endings was created to mirror the evolution of those themes. The game makes use of the specific language results of text-mining the books and their critical reviews; these phrases are linked to screenshots of the relevant AntConc results.

Project Itinerary:

1. Cross reference sources to determine a collection of 20-25 novels that represent the scope of themes covered in the dystopian genre during the 20th century, spaced evenly through the century.

          - The Novels, Research, and Themes


2. Research all of these novels and determine their historical context from online critical reviews and analysis of the works. Articulate the themes present in each novel, as well as any overarching patterns. Create an interactive visual timeline that shows the relationship between historical events and the appearance of particular thematic elements.

          - Rough draft
          - Tool for Final Draft

          - Final Timeline (PDF will be posted)


3. Choose five novels and their Goodreads.com reviews on which to perform in-depth text analysis using AntConc and TopicModelingTool. Each team member takes on one novel and will present findings during the final class presentation.

          - Assignment #1

          - Assignment #2

          - Assignment #3

          - Assignment #4


Results: AntConc Results- We

              AntConc Results - The Running Man 
              AntConc Results - I Am Legend 

              Antconc Results - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

              Antconc Results - The Female Man


4. Design a text-based Create-Your-Own-Adventure game (go to game) that exemplifies the evolution of the 20th century dystopian novel through interactive play. It embodies the main anxiety of the time period that emerged in our research and timeline. The different plot directions the player can choose to pursue expose them to dystopian elements that appeared in some of the novels and at different points in time. Two avenues connect the Research portion of the project with the CYOA game:

          1. The research and timeline specifies exactly what thematic elements the game will expose to a player depending on the choices they make.

          2. The AntConc text mining of the 5 books and their reviews show exactly what words and phrases authors used to create an atmosphere of 'dystopia'. The text of the CYOA game will utilize those exact same word concordances and the information gained from "topic modeling" to create the plot. Thus, none of the game's themes or elements are extrapolated by the creators-all directly mirror the way authors of the 20th century created their dystopias.


5. Create a plot-map image that summarizes all of the possible sub-plots and endings so a viewer can see all of the themes the game creators included.



     -Annotated Bibliographies:

          Rosie Imler

          Priscilla Leung

          Spencer Phillips

          Weslina Hung

          Bibliography by Max Hillman

     -Research Reports:

          Rosie Imler, Utilization of the CHNM Timeline Generation Tool In Plotting the Evolution of the 20th C. Dystopian Novel

          Priscilla Leung, Recurrence and Relevance: Data Mining Dystopian Novels and Goodreads Reviews in AntConc 

          Spencer Phillips, Tyranny: A New Interpretation

          Weslina Hung, The Value of Fear

          Max Hillman - Research Report

     - Final Papers

          Priscilla Leung, Dystopia and Its Heyday: An Examination of 20th Century Politics, Language, and Creation



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