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A Thousand Acres

  by Jane Smiley


(about 517 pages)
129,187
total words
of all the books in our library
48.52%
vividness
of all the books in our library
8.51%
passive voice
of all the books in our library
3.11%
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
0.98%
ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library
2.13%
non-ly-adverbs
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:

MOST PASSIVE PAGE
MOST VIVID PAGE
the strawberry hulls and the turkey giblets with my foot. There was a difference in me, too. If he’d found the clothes six months before, I would have been ashamed at the subterfuge. Now I was only annoyed that I’d forgotten and left them there. Had there been no miscarriage, the baby would have been a week or two old now, a startling thought. I would have been eight months pregnant for the coming of Jess Clark, the ponderous focus of witty remarks during all our Monopoly games. A restraining influence would certainly have been exerted on me, on Ty, possibly on my father. With the future visible, growing, getting ready to present itself (assumed to be a boy until the last possible minute), it would have been unwise to question the past, a tempting of fate. There would have been no new buildings, because we would have taken a conservative fiscal line. We would have sought instead to present a different picture: live generations on the same land. In honor of my son, wouldn’t I warm enthusiastically to such a picture? All the other mothers of sons ii, Zebulon County did. The fact was, in theory it was all still possible. If Jess were right and our well water was at fault, I could drink and cook with bottled water. And then there would be a grandson. Our neighbors who were now inflaming my father with phrases like “Some things just aren’t right,” would be saying, “Let bygones be bread and oatmeal might have been welcome at that buffet table. It was barbecued ribs, scalloped potatoes with ham, three kinds of potato salad, four meat casseroles, green beans with cream sauce three ways, two varieties of sweet corn salad, lime Jell-O with bananas, lime Jell-O with maraschino cherries, somebody’s big beautiful green salad, but with a sweet dressing. Jess took baked beans and some leaves of salad, then fell upon the carrot-raisin slaw and helped himself to half of it. He skipped the desserts. Daddy was already sitting at the table. His plate looked like mine-ribs, potato salad, corn, macaroni and hamburger, more ribs. I said, in a friendly voice, “Well, Daddy, it looks like we picked all the same things.” He ignored me. I sat between Pammy and Jess, across from Daddy, far from Ty. Rose sat on the other side of Jess and Pete at the end of the table. As soon as I sat down my heart began to pound. Some people we didn’t know began to pull out chairs, then they saw Harold looking at them and they backed away. Though we were uncomfortable enough to trade a few uncertain smiles, we settled ourselves, addressed our plates. I glanced at Ty’s face, at his plate, the wife habitually noticing what the husband was eating. He, too, had some of the carrot slaw. I looked at my own plate, the ribs looked good but would be messy. I poked my white plastic fork into the corn

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 2583.74 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 Jane Smiley

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