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Mathematical Analysis of Mental Health in Literature
Bar graph of number of derogatory mental health terms used in a novel in chronological publishing order.
Alexandra Hill Bar Graph.png
Class of 2023
Francophone Studies

Alexandra Hill '23, born and raised in Los Angeles, California, is a triple major in English, French, and mathematics, with a minor in statistics. Her passion for mental health is a keystone for much of her academia; she presented her research on mental health accessibility in writing centers at a national conference in 2021, and her three senior honors projects each respectively analyze mental health in literature in unique ways.



Summer 2021

To what extent has the portrayal of mental health in English literature evolved over the past century? I utilized R to perform data science analyzation techniques on fiction novels about mental illness that range over the past century. The current final data includes the full analysis and visualizations from eight novels, but thanks to the successful completion of the R code template, many more books can be added as applicable. The final R document allows the uploading, cleaning, and formatting of the texts of the books. From there, I pursued myriad analysis techniques and produced data visualizations, including various forms of sentiment analysis and looking at the usage of mental health words.