Word fans, did you see what I saw?
The food words generally decrease over the course of the book. We predicted that. If we read the dip in Chapter 1 as an abundance of common food words and the spike in chapter 6 as a spike in thinking about food they weren’t getting, it’s a trend.
Then there was the archaic word graph, which broadly rises.
What if we were to flip over the food word graph? I suppose we could call it a hunger graph.
And then if we put those graphs on top of one another…
We could, if we squint hard, call those matching trajectories. If you had asked me last week if I had a prediction about this, I would probably have said, “Sure, as food and comfort go down across the book, archaism and lofty things increase, I’ll put a nickel on that.” What piques my curiosity this morning? Where and why these lines diverge from the predicted pattern.
Chapter 1? I believe that’s a straightforward “many food words here are common” phenomenon and that the beginning and end of the chapter are my guides for where to think of the blue line.
Chapter 4? Oh, yes. Goblins. No archaic words at all. All current-use. And food? No. Goblins do not serve tea. Or supper. Or even cram. Modern words, no manners. Uncouth, uncultured, ignorant.
Chapter 6 I chalk up to another measurement anomaly – the blue line shows us words about foods which the company is not eating.
But oh, yes, the beginning of Chapter 9. Archaic words and food (remember, the blue line going down means hunger goes away). Bilbo embraced being a hero and we enter Thranduil’s realm. Spiders talked about food, elves treated their prisoners humanely. In fact,
[08.144] … They gave [Thorin] food and drink, plenty of both, if not very fine; for Wood-elves were not goblins, and were reasonably well-behaved even to their worst enemies,
Goblins are the contrast to elves? Many scholars more learned than I have held forth on this topic. I present this little lexomic morsel to nourish the discussion.