Grounding Characters and Places in Narrative Text

Sandeep Soni, Amanpreet Sihra, Elizabeth Evans, Matthew Wilkens, David Bamman


Abstract
Tracking characters and locations throughout a story can help improve the understanding of its plot structure. Prior research has analyzed characters and locations from text independently without grounding characters to their locations in narrative time. Here, we address this gap by proposing a new spatial relationship categorization task. The objective of the task is to assign a spatial relationship category for every character and location co-mention within a window of text, taking into consideration linguistic context, narrative tense, and temporal scope. To this end, we annotate spatial relationships in approximately 2500 book excerpts and train a model using contextual embeddings as features to predict these relationships. When applied to a set of books, this model allows us to test several hypotheses on mobility and domestic space, revealing that protagonists are more mobile than non-central characters and that women as characters tend to occupy more interior space than men. Overall, our work is the first step towards joint modeling and analysis of characters and places in narrative text.
Anthology ID:
2023.acl-long.655
Volume:
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)
Month:
July
Year:
2023
Address:
Toronto, Canada
Venue:
ACL
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
11723–11736
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/2023.acl-long.655
DOI:
10.18653/v1/2023.acl-long.655
Bibkey:
Cite (ACL):
Sandeep Soni, Amanpreet Sihra, Elizabeth Evans, Matthew Wilkens, and David Bamman. 2023. Grounding Characters and Places in Narrative Text. In Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers), pages 11723–11736, Toronto, Canada. Association for Computational Linguistics.
Cite (Informal):
Grounding Characters and Places in Narrative Text (Soni et al., ACL 2023)
Copy Citation:
PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/2023.acl-long.655.pdf