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.