Sexual Orientation in Spinning

One of the standout themes in Spinning was the idea of Tillie struggling with being a lesbian. I also felt that at there was a right balance between focusing on it and then other things. This prompted me to count the number of panels per chapter that reference her sexual orientation.

The main limitation of my graph is that you can’t see a percentage of how much each of the chapters takes up and rather what chapters feature her sexual orientation the most.

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The map took the shape it did because the references to her orientation become more prominent when she is finally outed after her picture with Rae is discovered and she comes out to her parents and friends, and it takes center stage. But once this is revealed it slows down a considerable amount and then fades into the background as her future and her issues become more present.

The map succeeded in showing the ramping and fading of references that I felt when I read, but it came up to my decision of what constituted a reference to her sexual orientation, therefore the numbers may be slightly different if someone else made the same graph.

What this shows me about Spinning is that the themes and moments in the book shift just as Tillie is growing up and therefore we should track exactly where we are and what the story is telling us by what it focuses on.

Mapping Spinning: Reflection

This project. And all the panels. A pain in the butt to count, YES, but a good pain (????). After counting tons of panels and trying to see what I felt, I feel like I understand Spinning as a very different book. Upon initial readings, I thought it was a very sad book. It had a great message, but all I could remember was the hardships and negatives that occurred in the book. But then I looked at it all, and I noticed that there were still panels that displayed positive emotions (hope, happy, etc.). This helped to change Spinning from a book about sadness to a book about life, and it shows that life will have ups and downs, even if you can only see one side.

It was also strange quantifying Spinning. The book felt so emotional that it seemed impossible to “count” anything within Spinning. But it was actually somewhat refreshing to count it all. It helped me understand this book much better all around, as said previously.

To come up with this idea, I simply asked myself what I felt Spinning was emotionally. I’d thought much of Spinning was negative (and a lot of it still was!), but I wasn’t completely sure if it was as one-sided as I remembered. So I was curious enough to judge 1500+ panels on what I emotionally felt in the given moment of reading it.

I think I succeeded in what I wanted to see. Even though it’s quite messy with loads of numbers, I can start to visually see the differences and changes that the book goes through emotionally. However, there are massive limitations to this map. It’s all subjective, which is already very limiting. Furthermore, there are some emotions that are hard to distinguish between each other (annoyance v. frustration) that one has to make tough calls on. But overall, I’m actually quite satisfied.

Mapping Spinning

Each chapter of Spinning opens with an explanation of a different figure skating move and Tillie’s experiences with it. My understanding of this aspect of Spinning was definitely altered when I visualized it through the map I created.  When I was reading Spinning, I simply viewed the chapter headers as a cute and clever way of incorporating each chapter while simultaneously giving the reader insight into Walden’s perspective.  However, when I looked back and focused on the openings of each chapter I began to notice that as the novel progresses, so do the complexities of the figure skating move.  These complexities also carry over into her life experiences and relationships with those around her. Tillie is not only growing up physically, but also handling more and more mentally. That’s why I decided to represent my map the way I did. I filled each chapter number with the move that Tillie assigned it and had the numbers grow in size, similar to Tillie.  I decided to focus on this element of Spinning, because I wanted to see if there was a deeper meaning behind these chapter headers and a connection to the emotions that Tillie was trying to evoke throughout the novel. I think I was very successful in creating my map as it’s easy to follow and conveys the same message Tillie portrays in a new and creative way.

Mapping Spinning Reflection

While reading Spinning, I wanted to especially pay attention to large frames on a page because it means that the author wants the reader to pay attention to it. Since there were so many full page frames towards the end, I wondered if there was a correlation between the progression of the story and the frequency of large frames. Though it is not totally apparent, the amount of pages with large frames per chapter has a positive correlation through the continuation of the chapters.

I believe that the reason for this is because the large frames are used for dramatic effect so as the narrative gains traction Tillie Walden uses them to give depth. Also, as things change in her life, she began to change her artistic style.

Mapping Spinning Reflection

Similar to nearly all the assignments we have completed thus far, Mapping Spinning enabled me to see themes vividly through visualization rather than sheerly textual analysis. I understand Spinning more as a progression of a struggling girl’s adolescence than I did before.  Obviously this is a narrative of the story, but when I see it through, for example, the bar chart of the first and last one hundred pages, I can notice a progression.  In my interpretation, though Walden has stated there was indifference, the yellow exemplifies significant and more dramatized moments.  With this principle, it is logical to see the intensity build up through the book.  Especially this is notable where, through this sequence, Tillie quits skating, has the car crash encounter, and has the sexual assault incident.  Without analyzing these through visual representation, it would be difficult to see.  This, also, pertains to how you can see the themes flowing through the tree diagram.  The question that led me to analyze the feature of the illustration was to discover the significance of the yellow coloring.  Another was to uncover the main themes and how they connect to each other in the scope of a coming of age story.

My map took its shape because I wanted to incorporate qualitative and quantitative data together.  I decided to us eh helpful Data Visualization Catalogue in order to explore my best options in displaying the data.  Rather than using only one, I wanted to gather a firm argument by having three pieces of evidence.  A limitation of my map is that it does not have a definitive explanation through visualization.  True, I draw my conclusions through my textual analysis, it is not displayed in its own chart.  A strength to my map is that it extracts key information of the comic that illustrate the main ideas of Tillie’s experiences.  It brings her story together concisely, comparatively, and vividly.

Mapping Spinning Reflection

I set out to map something about Spinning by Tillie Walden, but what that something was I didn’t know. I had skimmed the book multiple times, looking for different visual or textual patterns but couldn’t make out anything too anomalous that might inspire me. However, when I was skimming, I did realize that there are surprisingly few male characters in the graphic novel. What then came to mind was: why was that? While looking for a possible reason for why there were so few males, I noticed that a lot of the male characters Tillie interacts with in the novel have a bad influence/effect on her. The skating coach in New Jersey was nothing but a taskmaster to her, the SAT tutor sexually assaulted her, even her own twin brother turns from friend to dissenter when Tillie tells him that she’s gay. I figured that this may have been a reason for including so few male characters; Tille doesn’t have many good experiences with men (at least as portrayed in Spinning)

My map shows how I attempted to quantify the effects of the male characters on Tillie. It is not a map that is totally reflective of my findings (I have some more data that I wasn’t able to fit into the graph) but it got the main points across. I chose the format I did to visually show which males effected her the most and in which ways. I think the use of size and color to show which characters were good or bad, stressful or less so was a good way to simplify the info I’m trying to get across. It is not a perfect map though, the numbers I gave each character are my best approximation of how all the factors I studied reflect on that person and the graph could be more expansive with the amount of topics covered. I spent a long time looking around for different info-graph types and templates but couldn’t find one that fit my needs much better than the one I chose.

I think looking at the book through the graph I created brings attention to the pattern of negative male interactions that some might otherwise miss when reading the book. It is easy to miss just how few men are in the novel and how their interactions with Tillie influence her thought process and life. The graph reveals this pattern which reading the book panel by panel may not make so obvious.

Mapping Spinning

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I decided to use similar inforgraphic I used in the SK10 assignment. The infographic uses the point system so you can see points for each sections of the chapter. The total point also demonstrates which chapters contains significant events or not. It was a bit difficult to use this point system since there were lots of variables, but it was managed.

SK 10

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In this sketch I tried to make two list of schedule graph. One for Monday and Wednesday and one for Tuesday and Thursday. I believed that this would be good idea for this sketch since the schedule is different for two pairs. I don’t think this is the accurate data, but it is good enough for estimate. Doing this project was interesting since I was able to see the pattern of my schedule on weekdays.

Mapping Spinning Reflection

The assignment to Map Spinning by Tillie Walden presented a unique challenge, because it felt like working with quantitative data about something that was inherently more creative and that did not lend itself to being quantified. Originally I wanted to do something with this idea. I tried to find an aspect to track throughout the entire book, but as I counted pages I realized that it showcased the progress of the character better to compare the data I collected by showcasing a few chapters from the beginning and the ending.

I ended up choosing to track the way that Tillie’s wears her hair in the first, second, ninth and tenth chapters. I chose to track this for a few reasons. Firstly, it is an indirect way to track the amount of time that Tillie spends on the ice; most often her hair is up when she skates and down when she is at school or at home. The moments where this convention in the book are broken are important in that they allow the readers to see a very quiet kind of rebellion from Tillie. As a character, Tillie is very quiet and has a lot of difficulty asserting herself verbally. So the moments where she refuses to put her hair up (in the first few pages, and on page 322) are more significant than they might be in another author’s story.

Secondly, I think that the scenes where Tillie and Lindsay are getting ready together, doing each other’s hair are arguably some of the most genuine and intimate moments in the girls’ friendship. And the act of preparing for tournaments and practices are where we get to see these girls interact.

I chose to represent two chapters from the beginning and end of the book to showcase growth in Tillie’s character. I represented these in four pie charts, one for each chapter. I added categories into the last two to differentiate between her hair in the present moment and her hair in flashbacks to earlier moments in her childhood. My graphs made visible what I had initially thought, which is that as the book progresses Tillie wears her hair down more and more, which doesn’t go unnoticed by the other characters (see again, the scene on page 322). I think it is not insignificant that Tillie Walden chooses to begin and end with Tillie on the ice again, years after quitting, and refusing a younger girl who offers her a hair tie. This moment alone makes a compelling case for exactly why it is important to note Tillie’s choices about her hair within this book.

Data Viz: A Running Joke

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It took awhile to come up with a decent idea for this assignment. When brainstorming, I instinctively tried to select two variables that would be likely to show a correlation. And because the media seems to associate physical exercise almost exclusively with positive outcomes, I figured that exercise may be positively correlated with happiness. Measuring daily exercise output was simple: I would use the health app on my iPhone to track distance (in miles) travelled per day. Deciding how to measure happiness was the tricky part, but I eventually figured that frequency of laughter would serve as a relative indicator for happiness. Recording laughter was by far the most difficult part of this process. In the beginning especially, I constantly forgot to record laughs throughout the day. It was difficult to consciously draw my attention to something so habitual. Though, overtime it became routine and easier to record.

My immediate prediction for this experiment was that miles travelled would be positively correlated laughter. In other words, the more I exercised the happier I would be that day.  Though, interestingly enough, the results of my data analysis (more or less) displayed the opposite trend. While I must acknowledge there were a number of outliers, such as day 3, 10, 12 and 15, the results displayed a slight negative correlation between exercise and happiness. In other words the lazier I was that day the more I laughed!

I also envisioned that laughter would be lowest during the weekdays and would gradually increase in proximity to the weekends: ultimately peaking on Fridays and Saturdays. However, several days where frequent laughter was recorded, including the day I laughed the most, actually took place in the beginning or middle of the week. I laughed the most on a Tuesday, which is surprising because Tuesday is my busiest workday, and far from the weekend. I laughed the least on a Sunday, which is less surprising because Sunday marks the end of the weekend and I’ve never really liked Sundays in general. Circling back to the primary finding of this experiment, the negative correlation between miles travelled and laughter, I have wondered what aspects of my lifestyle may explain this trend. Maybe on the days I exercised less I was spending more time with friends (which can often take place around a TV or a dinner table): resulting in more laughter. Or maybe the days I exercised more I was too busy and preoccupied to laugh, or was too tired and therefore needed to sleep more. Nonetheless, I think most of my friends would report that I am extremely lazy and laugh at pretty much everything.

When composing my visual, I compiled the data I had been tracking on an Excel document and created a line graph. I then used Patina and drew in some aesthetic details to make it more visually appealing and to accentuate notable peaks and valleys in my graph. After looking at the final product I came to the conclusion that I don’t exercise as often as I should, which is bad. But I laugh very frequently, which is good!

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