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The Sum of Us

  by Heather McGhee

(about 399 pages)
total words
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library
passive voice
of all the books in our library
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library

clippings from this book

We’ve analyzed hundreds of millions of words, from thousands of different authors, training our linguistic models to recognize the most vivid words in the English language… the words that create the most intense sensory experiences: colors, textures, sounds, flavors, and aromas.

Based on our analysis, we’ve scanned through the pages of this book to find the two pages at the extremes, both the most-passive and the most-vivid pages, so that you can compare them side-by-side and see the difference:

his words, “Herrenvolk republicanism had the advantage of reassuring whites in a society in which downward mobility was a constant fear—one might lose everything but not whiteness.” In order to keep what Du Bois called a psychological wage, white workers needed not to contest too strongly for more material wages. To fight for a fairer system, the working class would have needed collective action, which has always been in tension with the pull of American racism. I WAS ON the phone one afternoon with Robin DiAngelo, the white writer who coined the expression “white fragility,” when she took a personal digression from the topic we were discussing. DiAngelo and her two sisters were raised in poverty by their single mom. “She was not able to feed, house, or clothe us,” DiAngelo recalled. “I mean, we were flat out. We lived in our car. We were not bathed. My mother could not take care of us. And yet, anything I ever wanted to touch, like food someone left out—I was hungry, right? I was reprimanded: ‘Don’t touch that. You don’t know who touched it, it could have been a colored person.’ ‘Don’t sit there. You don’t know who sat there, it could have been a colored person.’ That was the language—this was the sixties. The message was clear: If a colored person touched it, it would be dirty. But I was dirty. Yet in those moments, the shame of poverty was lifted. I wasn’t poor anymore. I was how much racism was holding us back from building the kind of coalition we needed to win. We’re trying to make sure that the whole field never makes that mistake again.” THE HIDDEN WOUND We were high in the balcony, so close to the projector that I could see the dust in the beam of light cutting across the auditorium. The grainy black-and-white images showed a veritable pantheon onscreen: Rosa Parks, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the unnamed heroes withstanding abuse at a lunch counter or leaning up against a wall, shielding their faces from the pounding spray of water hoses. Every February, for Black History Month, our school put on a display of the righteousness of Black Americans. The organ struck up, and the white students looked to the lyrics in their programs… Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chastening rod, Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; Yet with a steady beat, Have not our weary feet Come to the place for which our fathers sighed? We have come over a way that with tears has been watered We have come treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered Out from the gloomy past, ’Til now we stand at last Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast. When we finished singingLift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” the Black national anthem, Vanessa, a white girl in my sixth-grade class, turned to me and whispered, “I wish I was Black

emotional story arc

Click anywhere on the chart to see the most significant emotional words — both positive & negative — from the corresponding section of the text…
This chart visualizes the the shifting emotional balance for the arc of this story, based on the emotional strength of the words in the prose, using techniques pioneered by the UVM Computational Story Lab. To create this story arc, we divided the complete manuscript text into 50 equal-sized chunks, each with 1993.34 words, and then we scored each section by counting the number of strongly-emotional words, both positive and negative. The bars in the chart move downward whenever there’s conflict and sadness, and they move upward when conflicts are resolved, or when the characters are happy and content. The size of each bar represents the positive or negative word-count of that section.

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other books by Heather McGhee

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