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Golden Age

  by Jane Smiley


(about 688 pages)
171,992
total words
of all the books in our library
41.38%
vividness
of all the books in our library
8.97%
passive voice
of all the books in our library
3.01%
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
0.77%
ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library
2.24%
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
can’t marry her. He doesn’t want to marry her. I don’t think she wants to marry him, either. It was a mistake. Her parents are very traditional. She’s eighteen. They think that’s plenty old to get married. Her sister was married at seventeen, and there are a couple of adored grandchildren. I think Chance has been on the road for the last four weeks. She is terrified that her dad will find out. Or her mom. Someone.” Janet said, “Where are they?” “The ranch.” “What do you want me to do?” “I don’t know.” That was why she had called, Janet realized—she was the one who was supposed to come up with a plan. Loretta said, “The hospital out there is out of the question.” “Have you told Michael?” Loretta said, “No.” “Why not?” “A, because he wouldn’t think twice about it, and, B, because he would swear to keep it a secret and then get mad about something and start shooting his mouth off.” Everyone knew that everyone knew that women had abortions, had always had abortions. Possibly, rumor had had it, her great-aunt Eloise had had an abortion; possibly there had been abortions on the Bergstrom side, back in the ancient days of Queen Anne’s lace—her mom had always implied that if something bad could happen it would have happened to the Bergstroms. “That,” said Loretta, “is what money is for.” And Janet did not wonder aloud what the monsignor would think. Finally, Janet said, “I’ll seeds of old-fashioned varieties of vegetables and fruits, and was carefully labeling and saving her best garden seeds—not only tomatoes, peppers, seed potatoes, and squash, which you could justify in the name of flavor, but onions, beets, turnips, carrots, and parsnips, which all tasted the same to Joe. Stashed-away turnips made him think about wartime. Lois wouldn’t plant a hybrid in her garden; she still gathered butternuts; she still pretended that her apple and pear trees were all about flavor and pies. She tended them not only with care but with prayer. Jesse had a soil map of the farm on his computer. Every day or so, he went out with his moisture gauge and his temperature gauge and tested the various soil types, and plugged them into the map. He therefore knew that on the field behind his house, where the soil was loamier, the moisture content was 8 percent greater than it was on the east field, where both dogs were now barking, but 2 percent less than on the west field, where Opa had long kept cattle, sheep, and horses, and for decades had turned their manure under. On the hill behind Joe’s house, where everyone had always been careful to terrace if they planted it at all, you could see the soil shading from dark chocolate to caramel just by looking at it; the dust blowing off the brow of the hill was as dry as sand, while on the lower terraces the beans looked

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 3439.84 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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