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A Fair Maiden

  by Joyce Carol Oates


(about 200 pages)
49,919
total words
of all the books in our library
59.79%
vividness
of all the books in our library
8.57%
passive voice
of all the books in our library
3.61%
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
1.48%
ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library
2.14%
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
had to wonder which was worse. Katya was recalling how Roy Mraz had taken her out when she’d been scarcely fourteen years old and had flirted with him, must’ve been that Katya had been one of those girls who’d been crazy for Roy Mraz without knowing much about him, and he’d laughed at her, saying, It won’t hurt, Katya, not much, and, by the time it was too late for Katya to change her mind, Just this first time, maybe. Katya had not wanted to think how this past year in Vineland she’d been hearing rumors that Roy Mraz had done things in prison—or maybe things had been done to Roy Mraz in prison—but Katya hadn’t known what these things were alleged to be. From her grandfather Spivak, who’d been a prison guard at Glassboro for more than thirty years, Katya had an idea. And it was said—Katya was remembering only now, as if mists were lifting slowly, revealing a devastated landscape—that this young man who was, or was not, her blood relative had helped two older men rob a gas station when he’d been nineteen, and when the proprietor rushed at them with a baseball bat, one of the men panicked and shot him several times in the chest and he’d died on the floor of the gas station on the outskirts of Atlantic City, and if Roy Mraz hadn’t been the one who’d fired the gun, he’d been an accomplice. Felony murder, this was bruises, cuts, rashlike scrapeshad not entirely healed; in the crook of his right forearm you could see a butterfly bandage, indicating that he’d been given IV fluids recently; he appeared to be wearing a white hospital gown, of the kind that ties at the nape of the neck. Yet there was Marcus Kidder’s beautiful snowy-white hair, looking as if it were utterly natural and not a wig; perhaps in fact this was Mr. Kidder’s own hair, which had grown miraculously back in since Katya had last seen him. Mr. Kidder’s eyes, which were set in shadowy sockets, were yet kindly and intense, and shone with a rapturous sort of hunger that made Katya’s heart quicken. Wrapped in the feather-light shawl, barefoot on the crimson carpet, Katya went forward shyly. There was Mrs. Bee at the tall narrow windows, quietly drawing the blinds. Shadows darted from the corners of the room like swift strokes of a charcoal stick. Mrs. Bee was then lighting candles, several intricately designed candelabra fitted with tall cream-colored candles that burned with unusually high tapering flames that gave off a rich perfumed scent that made Katya’s head spin. A door softly closed. Katya glanced around and saw that Mrs. Bee had vanished. On a table beside Mr. Kidder’s bed was a silver tray holding two tall bottles of champagne and two champagne glasses and, on a gold-rimmed plate, handfuls of pills, capsules, and tablets. Beneath the perfumed scent of the candles was an astringent medicinal smell

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 998.38 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 Joyce Carol Oates

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