My research now concluded, my understanding of England’s literary landscape in the first half of the twentieth century has changed dramatically.
This project was quite an adventure from the beginning. While it was difficult, and ultimately impossible, to find the true formula that I was looking for at the beginning, I learned a lot about the implications of sequences and prime numbers in the grand scheme of mathematics. To recap briefly my project, I began with a numerical analysis of several different sizes of Latin square, including 3×3, 4×4, 5×5, 6×6, and 7×7. The number of possible Latin squares at each size increased rapidly, and after 7×7 it was much too large to realistically calculate. I was able to break these numbers down and apply a few different types of tests to these in order to find a pattern leading from one to the next, but the large primes which appeared in the prime factorizations of the numbers prevented any conclusive pattern from appearing. After spending a lot of time working with those numbers, I turned to the second stage of my project.
I’m finally wrapping up my data collection for my analysis of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s dialogue, and I can already see that the scope of this project turned into something far larger than I had anticipated. My binder contains hundreds of entries, each with an invented word or an unconventional turn of phrase. I’ve also given a lot of thought to the impact this dialogue has on the show. Each season, for at least the first five seasons, seems to follow a pattern–the first several episodes are lighter in fluffier in tone, and there are several more noteworthy moments in the dialogue in these episodes. The casual, inventive dialogue used creates a sense of familiarity both among the characters and between the characters and the viewers. It’s a language that is different from the way we generally speak, but similar enough to be easily understood, so it feels like the viewer is a part of this intimate group of friends shown on TV. In the show’s very first episode, when all the main characters are first introduced, I recorded 21 separate entries. Later in each of these seasons, once the characters have been established and the show gets much darker and more dramatic in tone, the entries in my unofficial Buffy dictionary generally decrease. For example, the episode “Becoming, Part 2,” which is season 3’s finale and one of the darkest episodes of the show, has no entries. The fun, inventive quotes like “Pretty juicy piece of clue-age, don’t you think? (season 4, episode 8)” add a lot to the lighthearted tone of goofy monster-of-the-week mysteries, but they would seem inappropriate and out of place in those later, much more serious episodes.
Upon returning to Williamsburg, around June 16th, I began the process of interpreting the data I collected in the field. With the help of my advisor, I spent the day organizing data, preparing samples, and setting up what I was to work on for the rest of the summer, until I returned to campus again.