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Little Bird of Heaven

  by Joyce Carol Oates

(about 603 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:

didn’t you call me, Krista? If you were in a place with a phone? You must have known I’d be waiting for you.” “I did call, Mom. I tried… “No. I was here, I’ve been home since four-fifteen. I would have heard the phone ringing.” “Mom, when I called the line was busy. Two or three times I tried, the line was busy… This was true: I’d tried to call my mother from the County Line. But I’d only tried twice. Both times the busy signal had rung. Then I’d given up, and I’d forgotten. Now my mother was saying, conceding: maybe she had been on the phone, for just a few minutes. Maybe yes she’d missed my call. “I called Nancy’s number”—Nancy was a classmate of mine who lived in Sparta, at whose house I sometimes stayed overnight—“to see if you were there, or if Nancy knew where you might be. She didn’t.” “Mom, for Christ’s sake! Why’d you call Nancy.” “Krista, don’t use profanity in my presence. That’s crude, and that’s vulgar. Your father might say ‘For Christ’s sake’—and a lot worse—but I don’t want to hear such words in my daughter’s mouth.” Fuck, Mom. Such words are all I have. My heart beat in resentment that in my mother’s eyes I was still a child when I was certain I had not been a child in a long time. “How badly was he drinking? Was it bad?” “No.” “And he was driving. Was with the intention of buying a strawberry whipped-cream pie, a chocolate mousse, a three-tiered birthday cake, a luscious glazed fruit tart or a platter of fudge, chocolate-chip cookies, macaroons. “O.K. Ben, Krissie—say what looks good to you. What’d you like best.” Earnestly Ben and I debated: the strawberry whipped-cream pie, banana cream pie, cherry pie with strips of golden crust like a pinwheel instead of the usual boring solid upper crust… An entire display case of birthday cakes! This debate could occupy minutes. While Eddy Diehl glanced at Zoe Kruller in the mirror behind the display case, took in his own reflection with a critical frown and slicked back his tufted rust-red hair like a rooster’s comb with a quick movement of both his hands. Eddy Diehl’s big carpenter’s hands. Eddy Diehl’s big thumbs. Eddy Diehl’s heavy-lidded eyes behind flat sea-greenaviatorsunglasses with the metallic rims. Eddy Diehl’s wordless appeal to the pert petite strawberry-blond woman with the glamorous made-up face like a Dolly Parton doll, white sleeves pushed back to bare her pale freckled forearms. After some Sundays of this, Ben began to object: “You always ask us what we want, Dad, but you never buy anything. So why ask us?” I didn’t want to hear this. I’d made my choices to tell Daddy: banana cream pie, caramel custard pie, triple-layer chocolate cake with HAPPY BIRTHDAY scrolled in pink frosting on the top. Once I’d watched Zoe Kruller squirting a coil of pink frosting like toothpaste

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 3016.54 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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