What Emotions Do Jason Reynolds’ Young Adult Novels Convey? A Sentiment Analysis

Taraneh Matloob Haghanikar, Elena Filatova


“The All-White world of children’s books” (Larrick, 1965) is still mainly White and heavily skewed in one direction. Black children are either entirely absent from the books or misrepresented in the stories. Although there has been a notable increase in publishing African American books over the past several years, “characters of color are [often] limited to the townships of occasional historical books that concern themselves with the legacies of civil rights and slavery” (Myers, 2014). These characters “are never given a pass card to traverse the lands of adventure, curiosity, imagination or personal growth” (Myers, 2014). With a focus on African American Young Adult books, in this paper, we show how Natural Language Processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis can be used as alternate tools to identify emotional patterns in diverse YA novels. We follow the approach for emotion analysis suggested by Mohammad (2012) and use manually created lexicons that contain Plutchik’s eight basic emotions. Also, we measure how the use of the emotion words changes through the course of our selected books and demonstrate the flow of the basic eight emotions as well as the sentiment associated with the emotion words in the sample books.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/wjer.v10n3p1


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