Concordancing in The Cop and The Anthem
A concordancer is one of the simplest but , at the same time, most powerful tools to elicit certain types of information-in a quick and effective way- from the diverse corpora available nowadays. Concordancers have been widely used in linguistics, above all in text-type studies which rely on quantitative analysis. There have been significant development in corpus linguistics during recent years. Yet linguistics is not the only field where concordancers may prove useful. Literary criticism might also be benefited from it. This paper argues for the use of concordances to literary texts. As an extremely powerful hypothesis testing device on vast amounts of data, the computer allows controlled speculation, makes hidden structures visible, enhances at the same time imagination and checks it by inductivity, thus making higher degrees of objectivity possible .Here I choose as topic the plot and characterization and writing style in a famous short story by an American writer O. Henry The Cop and The Anthem . The concordancing programs I use in this case is Wconcord and Wordsmith .
I load the text The Cop and The Anthem into Wordsmith. It provides some general statistics about the text:
Ave. Word Length4.54
sd. Sent. Length16.66
sd. Para. length1,667.36
For this text the bytes is 13,892 and the tokens are2,374 and the sentences are 117,which can be interpreted as a sign for a short text. Its token/ratio is 40.65.This can be interpreted as a sign for a middle-leveled variation in vocabulary. It’s sentence length is 20.15, which means sentences in this text are long compared to some easy texts .The number of its paragraph length is 1187.00. This means the paragraphs in this text is not long in general. If we plus total numbers of 1-letter 2-letter 3-letter and 4-letter words we can know the words less than 4 letters are 1368 together. But the tokens in the text is 2374. Thus 43 per cent of the words are more than 4-letter words. Therefore we may predict this text is middle-sized in difficulty. We are thus confronted with a short text middle-sized in difficulty.
Then I load this text into Wconcord. The frequency list in Wconcord yields some interesting material . The following is the 244 most frequent words(Other following words just appear once.). This helps us form an idea about what the story is about.
Word frequency F%
The |168| 7.179|
And |93| 3.974|
A |72| 3.077|
Of |67| 2.863|
His |57| 2.436|
To |56| 2.393|
Soapy |48| 2.051|
He |43| 1.838|
In |40| 1.709|
S |22| 0.940|
Was |22| 0.940|
That |21| 0.897|
Would |21| 0.897|
Him |20| 0.855|
At |19| 0.812|
On |18| 0.769|
With |18| 0.769|
Had |17| 0.726|
It |15| 0.641|
For |14| 0.598|
You |13| 0.556|
As |12| 0.513|
Be |12| 0.513|
An |11| 0.470|
Said |11| 0.470|
But |10| 0.427|
Emdash |9| 0.385|
Umbrella |9| 0.385|
I |8| 0.342|
Island |8| 0.342|
One |8| 0.342|
By |7| 0.299|
Into |7| 0.299|
Man |7| 0.299|
No |7| 0.299|
Not |7| 0.299|
Seemed |7| 0.299|
Set |7| 0.299|
Young |7| 0.299|
Against |6| 0.256|
Bench |6| 0.256|
Cop 6| 0.256|
Himself |6| 0.256|
Is |6| 0.256|
Made |6| 0.256|
Out |6| 0.256|
Page |6| 0.256|
There |6| 0.256|
This |6| 0.256|
Upon |6| 0.256|
Were |6| 0.256|
When |6| 0.256|
Where |6| 0.256|
Woman |6| 0.256|
About |5| 0.214|
Call |5| 0.214|
Cigar |5| 0.214|
Corner |5| 0.214|
Don |5| 0.214|
From |5| 0.214|
Hands |5| 0.214|
If |5| 0.214|
Its |5| 0.214|
Mind |5| .214|
Moved |5| 0.214|
Restaurant |5| 0.214|
Square |5| 0.214|
Street |5| 0.214|
T |5| 0.214|
Two |5| 0.214|
Winter |5| 0.214|
Without |5| 0.214|
Again |4| 0.171|
Are |4| 0.171|
Away |4| 0.171|
Coat |4| 0.171|
Come |4| 0.171|
O |4| 0.171|
Hand |4| 0.171|
Have |4| 0.171|
Little |4| 0.171|
Ready |4| 0.171|
Word Frequency F%
So |4| 0.171|
Their |4| 0.171|
Them |4| 0.171|
Then |4| 0.171|
Three |4| 0.171|
Through |4| 0.171|
Time |4| 0.171|
Turned |4| 0.171|
Up |4| 0.171|
Waiter |4| 0.171|
Well |4| 0.171|
Who |4| 0.171|
Window |4| 0.171|
Ambitions |3| 0.128|
Anthem |3| 0.128|
Been |3| 0.128|
Before |3| 0.128|
Broadway |3| 0.128|
Came |3| 0.128|
Caught |3| 0.128|
Table |3| 0.128|
They |3| 0.128|
Thought |3| 0.128|
Took |3| 0.128|
Uneasily |3| 0.128|
Walked |3| 0.128|
What |3| 0.128|
Which |3| 0.128|
Why |3| 0.128|
Above |2| 0.085|
Across |2| 0.085|
Along |2| 0.085|
Annual |2| 0.085|
Arm |2| 0.085|
Around |2| 0.085|
Arrest |2| 0.085|
Avenue |2| 0.085|
Bed |2| 0.085|
Blocks |2| 0.085|
Caf? |2| 0.085|
Church |2| 0.085|
Club |2| 0.085|
Coats |2| 0.085|
Word Frequency F%
Coin |2| 0.085|
Coming |2| 0.085|
Course |2| 0.085|
Days |2| 0.085|
Dead |2| 0.085|
District |2| 0.085|
Door |2| 0.085|
Doubt |2| 0.085|
Entering |2| 0.085|
Even |2| 0.085|
Face |2| 0.085|
Fact |2| 0.085|
Fate |2| 0.085|
Feel |2| 0.085|
Fell |2| 0.085|
Fence |2| 0.085|
Find |2| 0.085|
Followed |2| 0.085|
Four |2| 0.085|
Front |2| 0.085|
Gentleman |2| 0.085|
Go |2| 0.085|
Halted |2| 0.085|
Hat |2| 0.085|
Heart |2| 0.085|
Here |2| 0.085|
High |2| 0.085|
Hope |2| 0.085|
Jack |2| 0.085|
Joint |2| 0.085|
Kind |2| 0.085|
Know |2| 0.085|
Lady |2| 0.085|
Lap |2| 0.085|
Large |2| 0.085|
Left |2| 0.085|
Life |2| 0.085|
Like |2| 0.085|
Looked |2| 0.085|
Magistrate |2| 0.085|
Make |2| 0.085|
Mallard |2| 0.085|
Masher |2| 0.085
May |2| 0.085|
Missionary |2| 0.085|
Modest |2| 0.085|
More |2| 0.085|
Mugs |2| 0.085|
My |2| 0.085|
Near |2| 0.085|
Next |2| 0.085|
Night |2| 0.085|
Officer |2| 0.085|
Once |2| 0.085|
Organist |2| 0.085|
Park |2| 0.085|
Philanthropy |2| 0.085|
Place |2| 0.085|
Presented |2| 0.085|
Private |2| 0.085|
Quarters |2| 0.085|
Route |2| 0.085|
Running |2| 0.085|
Sabbath |2| 0.085|
Shaving |2| 0.085|
Shoes |2| 0.085|
Show |2| 0.085|
Sidewalk |2| 0.085|
Smiled |2| 0.085|
Soul |2| 0.085|
Spirit |2| 0.085|
Steps |2| 0.085|
Still |2| 0.085|
Store |2| 0.085|
Streets |2| 0.085|
Sure |2| 0.085|
Sweet |2| 0.085|
Taken |2| 0.085|
Thin |2| 0.085|
Things |2| 0.085|
Together |2| 0.085|
Toward |2| 0.085|
Trousers |2| 0.085|
Voice |2| 0.085|
Watching |2| 0.085|
Ways |2| 0.085|
Wind |2| 0.085|
Women |2| 0.085|
Yet |2| 0.085|
Your |2| 0.085|
From this evidence it can be concluded that the story ever happened on the park? island? corner? restaurant??street? Broadway ?Madison Square? caf?? church? club ,etc. in winter. It’s about a person named Soapy who had something to do with a policeman? a woman ?a waiter? a man and an officer.
This is the moment to move on to concordance. A concordance of Soapy and he will yield some actions performed by Soapy and thus the main plot of this short story can be manifested clearly ( selected lines only).
On his bench in Madison Square, | Soapy | moved uneasily.
kind to their husbands, and when | Soapy | moves uneasily on his bench
and the Riviera each winter, so | Soapy | had made his humble arrangements for his
| Soapy | left his bench and strolled
But as | Soapy | set foot in side the restaurant door the
| Soapy | turned off Broadway.
| Soapy | took a cobblestone and dashed it through
| Soapy | stood still, with his hands in his pocket | Soapy | , with disgust in his heart, loafed alone
Into this place | Soapy | took his accusive shoes and tellta
Five blocks | Soapy | travelled before his courage permitted tight little isle | Soapy | straightened the lady missionary’s ready
With half an eye | Soapy | saw that the policeman was watching him | Soapy | followed, boldly stepping to her side
inging ivy to his oak | Soapy | walked past the policeman overcome with
On the sidewalk | Soapy | began to yell drunken gibberish at the Disconsolate, | Soapy | ceased his unavailing racket.
| Soapy | stepped inside, secured the umbrella and
| Soapy | walked eastward through a street damaged
At length | Soapy | reached one of the avenues to the east
unusually quiet corner | Soapy | came to a standstill.
anthem that the organist played cemented | Soapy | to the iron fence,
He would– | Soapy | felt a hand laid on his arm.
At the corners of four streets | he | hands his pasteboard to the North
And | therefore | he | moved uneasily on his bench. H failed to repulse the cold as | he | slept on his bench near the spurring
and eleemosynary, on which | he | might set out and receive
Up Broadway | he | turned, and halted at a glittering caf
With drawn club | he | joined in the pursuit.
At a table | he | sat and consumed beefsteak, flapjacks,
And then to the waiter | he | betrayed the fact that the minutes
| He | arose joint by joint, as a carpenter’s
Already be imagined | he | could feel tile cozy warmth of the sta
At the next corner | he | shook off his companion and ran.
| He | halted in the district where by nigh panic upon it’ and when | he | came upon another policeman lounging g
transplendent theatre | he | caught | at the immediate straw of diso
| He | danced, howled, raved, and otherwise
|He | buttoned his thin coat against the chi
In a cigar store | he | saw a well-dressed man ]lighting a cig
| He | hurled the umbrella wrathfully into an
| He | muttered against the men who wear hel
| He | set his face down this toward Madison
| He | viewed with swift horror the pit into
the pit into which | he | had tumbled, the degraded days, unwort
| He | looked quickly around into the broad f
From the collocations of Soapy and he we can know the main plot of the story: (1)Soapy moved uneasily on his bench in winter. He might set out to look for his lodgings. Then he made his arrangement. (2) Soapy slipped out of the park and halted at a caf? upon Broadway. But he turned off Broadway. (3) Soapy took a cobblestone and dashed a window . Then he stood still . (4) Soapy loafed alone with disgust in his mind. After that he sat and consumed beefsteak and flapjacks at a table. But to the waiter he betrayed something and it seemed he was beaten. (5) Soapy traveled again. When Soapy saw the policeman was watching him he followed a woman. But Soapy walked past the policeman safely. At the next corner he shook off his companion and ran away. (6) On the sidewalk Soapy began to yell drunken gibberish. He danced , howled, raved. Yet he ceased his unavailing racket disconsolately. So he buttoned his thin coat. (7) In a cigar store he saw a well-dressed man Soapy stepped inside and secured an umbrella. But he hurled the umbrella wrathfully . (8) Soapy walked eastward through a street .At length Soapy reached one of the avenues to the east. He set his face down this toward Madison Square. But on an unusually quiet corner Soapy came to a standstill. And the anthem that the organist played cemented Soapy to the iron fence, for he had known it well. He viewed with swift horror the pit into which he had tumbled, the degraded days, unworthy desires. (9) Soapy felt a hand laid on his arm. He looked quickly around .
From the concordance of the hero Soapy we have received the information of complete plots of this story. From it we are also clear the literary structure of O. Henry’ short stories: firstly, opening; secondly, initiation of the intrigue; thirdly, love; fourthly, mystery and denouement. In this story the first plot is the opening of the story—-Soapy might set out to find a lodgings (being a guest of the law) for winter . From the second plot to the seventh plot are initiations of the intrigue—-Soapy did various bad things in order to enter the prison: he ever set foot inside a caf? for a free meal but he failed; he ever dashed a stone into a glass but the policeman refused to accept Soapy as a clue; then Soapy successfully had a big meal in a restaurant yet he was just beaten instead of being sent to prison ; he ever lured a woman in order to be captured by the policeman but the woman was a prostitute and he failed to be captured by the policeman again; then Soapy began to yell drunken gibberish ,however, the policeman disregarded him as a Yale student and pardoned him; in a cigar store he took a man’ umbrella in public yet that man was not the true owner of it, too ,thus Soapy failed again. The eighth plot is the love——-Soapy was moved by the anthem from the church, he decided to be a new man. The last plot is the mystery and denouement—– Soapy was captured by a policeman and he was tried for three months on the Island. It’s also the climax of the whole story. When Soapy did various evil things in order to be put into prison the policeman ignored. Yet when Soapy was greatly moved by the anthem and determined to start a new life a policeman captured him for being idleness. He was tried for three months in prison. From these simple plots containing in the concordance of the hero readers can sense the strong sarcastic atmosphere . The prison became a good place while the hell turned to be a heaven. Evil conducts were given lenient treatment while the good and honest were panelized. Such were the so-called democracy freedom and happiness. Why there can be such things? From the concordance of the policeman we may get the answer.
be handed over quietly and without uproar to |policeman |.
came running around the corner, a | policeman | in the lead.
The | policeman | ‘s mind refused to accept Soapy even as a clue.
The | policeman | saw a man halfway down the block running to
A | policeman | who stood before a drug store two doors away l
the window a large | policeman | of severe demeanor leaned against a water plug.
Soapy saw that the | policeman | was watching him fixedly.
The | policeman | was still looking.
Soapy walked past the | policeman | overcome with gloom.
another | policeman | lounging grandly in front of a theatre he
The | policeman | twirled his club, turned his back to Soapy
Would never a | policeman | lay hands on him?
Well, why don’t you call a | policeman | ?
The | policeman | looked at the two curiously.
The | policeman | hurried to assist a tall blonde in an
He looked quickly around into the broad face of a | policeman | .
Then come along, said the | policeman | .
This concordance shows the policeman seemed to be not only neglect of duty but also a full fool. He turned a blind eye to the real troublemaker . Though he lounged everywhere he was still pretentious with severe and gland demeanor. And he was not hesitating to capture an innocent person. From the image of this policeman readers can see through the essence of the policeman who is said to maintain the civilization of the society as well as the essence of the so-called democracy in the capitalist society.
In the above concordance concerning Soapy and the policeman O. Henry reveals the plots and the characters’ actions clearly and vividly. Readers can comprehend the excellent descriptions of the plots. Nevertheless, from the concordance we can see the characters are invented vividly and fully as well. O. Henry portrays not only these characters’ behavior and actions but also their internal mind and their speaking manner. Here is the concordance of Soapy’ way of speaking.
| said | Soapy, not without sarcasm, but friendly
stepping to her side, raised his hat and | said | : Ah there, Bedelia!
My umbrella, he | said | , sternly.
I hope you’ll — Of course it’s mine, | said | Soapy, viciously.
Nothin’, | said | Soapy.
In this concordance from Soapy’ speaking manner readers can sense his state of mind explicitly. He was so eager to be put into prison. Yet it seemed to be a dream far away. Therefore Soapy was quite peeved. Thus he may speak sternly or viciously or not without sarcasm but friendly.
When Soapy determined to start a new life the change in his mind is shown in the concordance:
| He | would pull himself out of the mi
pull himself out of the mire; | he | would make a man of himself again; make a man of himself again;| he | would conquer the evil that had
There was time; | he | was comparatively young yet: he was comparatively young yet: | he | would resurrect his old eager
Tomorrow | he | would go into the roaring downtown
| He | would find him to-morrow and ask
| He | would be somebody in the world.
| He | would– Soapy felt a hand laid on
In this concordance from the several “would” following “he” readers may feel Soapy’ strong determination to make a man of himself. This conversely strengthens the ironic implication of the story.
O. Henry also uses adverbs to characterize the characters. Here is a list of adverbs of this story.
his bench in Madison Square, Soapy moved | uneasily | .
to their husbands, and when Soapy moves | uneasily | on his bench in the park, you may know t [III.TXT]
And therefore he moved | uneasily | on his bench.
So the Island loomed big and | timely | in Soapy’s mind.
ough conducted by rules, does not meddle | unduly | with a gentleman’s private affairs. [III.TXT]
The pleasantest was to dine | luxuriously | at some expensive restaurant; and then, [III.TXT]
ter declaring Insolvency, be handed over | quietly | and without uproar to a policeman.
inquired the officer, | excitedly | .
said Soapy, not without sarcasm, but | friendly | , as one greets good fortune.
| Neatly | upon his left ear on the callous pavemen
s time the opportunity presented what he | fatuously | termed to himself a cinch.
tanding before a show window gazing with | sprightly | interest at its display of shaving
ghs and hems, smiled, smirked and went | brazenly | through the impudent and contemptible li
saw that the policeman was watching him | fixedly | . [III.TXT]
Soapy followed, | boldly | stepping to her side, raised his hat and
ut to beckon a finger and Soapy would be | practically | en route for his insular haven. [III.TXT]
Sure, Mike, she Said, | joyfully | , if you’ll blow me to a pail of suds. [III.TXT]
omen in furs and men in greatcoats moved | gaily | in the wintry air.
he came upon another policeman lounging | grandly | in front of a transplendent theatre
re he caught at the immediate straw of | disorderly | conduct.
d the umbrella and sauntered off with it | slowly | .
The man at the cigar light followed | hastily | .
My umbrella, he said, | sternly | .
The policeman looked at the two | curiously | .
ll — Of course it’s mine, said Soapy, | viciously | .
He hurled the umbrella | wrathfully | into an excavation.
But on an | unusually | quiet corner Soapy came to a standstill.
pedestrians were few; sparrows twittered | sleepily | in the eaves&emdash;for a little
And also in a moment his heart responded | thrillingly | to this novel
There was time; he was | comparatively | young yet: he would resurrect his old ea [III.TXT]
He looked | quickly | around into the broad
Most of the adverbs that refer to Soapy are clearly negative and remain so throughout the story: uneasily, brazenly, boldly, disorderly, sternly, viciously, wrathfully. They all reflect Soapy’s annoying state of mind of not being able to be put into prison. Yet in order to enhance the ironic effect O. Henry mostly uses positive words such as timely, luxuriously ,quietly, excitedly, sprightly, joyfully, gaily, grandly to modify other characters. These two groups of words are a striking contrast between the poor’s and the rich’s life.
Besides the above concordance which exhibit the plots and the characters some nouns’ concordance are meaning as well, which enhance the story’s ironic significance greatly. Here is the concordance of bench:
On his | bench | in Madison Square, Soapy moved uneasily.
and when Soapy moves uneasily on his | bench | in the park, you may know that winter And therefore he moved uneasily on his | bench | .
D repulse the cold as he slept on his | bench | near the spurring fountain
Soapy left his | bench | and strolled out of the square and
survives even when the home is a park | bench | .
We see bench was Soapy’s home before winter. Yet when winter came he felt uneasy on his bench. Therefore he left his bench and tried to find a new “home”. This is a severe satire to the so-called happiness ?freedom and democracy of the capitalized society. We may suppose if Soapy was not too poor to own a house he might not have tried to break the law to find prison as his home. This concrete word is used accurately , which is an accusation of the society.
The concordance of the word island is very meaning as well.
Three months on the | Island | was what his soul craved.
for his annual hegira to the | Island | .
So the | Island | loomed big and timely in Soapy’s mind.
Soapy, having decided to go to the | Island | , at once set about accomplishing his
It seemed that his route to the coveted | Island | was not to be an epicurean one.
The | Island | seemed very far away.
In his fancy the | Island | seemed an unattainable Arcadia. Three months on the | Island | , said the Magistrate in
When bench can not be Soapy’s warm house in winter island(in Soapy’s mind it refers to prison) became what his soul craved. Soapy, having decided to go to the island, at once set about accomplish his desire. After he did something evil the policeman did not send him to where he wanted Soapy even felt the island seemed an unattainable Arcadia. Yet just when Soapy decided to abandon the island to be his winter home the Magistrate in the Police Court declared he would be three months on the island. This is actually an unexpected decision as to Soapy as well as to readers. When readers have to admire O.Henry’ superb writing technique they may sigh for Soapy’ tragic destiny at the same time.
Some readers may ask: why Soapy did not accept the government’s welfare donate? The next concordance of charity may tell us the answer:
orned the provisions made in the name of | charity | for the city’s dependents.
one of Soapy’s proud spirit the gifts of | charity | are encumbered. As Caesar had his Brutus, every bed of | charity | must have its toll of a bath, every loaf
In this concordance it seems Soapy was proud and scorned the provisions because the conditions of accepting it was strict and the applicants human right was invaded. Thus it is understandable for Soapy to refuse the gifts of charity.
From the above analysis based on concordancing we are given basic insights into the structure of O.Henry’ The Cop and The Anthem. From the above concordancing we can grasp the plots? the characters and the writing style of this story easily and clearly.
It’s just under the so-called capitalist democracy that Soapy attempted to seek for his special happiness from prison .He did so many evil things yet no policeman sent him to prison. Just when he was moved by an anthem and determined to start a new life he was captured by a policeman and tried for three months captivity in prison. Either on the plots or the characterization or the writing style O.Henry may be rated as a good piece of work. During the course of analyzing the concordancing of this story we are providing a motivation for reading and raising language awareness and enhancing linguistic and stylistic and literary competence and “ learners are able to use literature as a way of increasing their knowledge of English as well as to enjoy literature as to enjoy literature in English in its own right.”( Tribble/Jones 1990:78)
Concordancing in Stylistics Teaching by Bernhard Kettemann
Concordancing in The Cop and The Anthem
Name: Yang Jianmei
Tutor: Dr.Li Wenzhong