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Missing Mom

  by Joyce Carol Oates

(about 533 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:

the paper came in the mail, she’d be so excited looking to see if—” “You didn’t see him, Gladys? You didn’t see anyone in the car?” “I—I don’t think so. I don’t see that well, dear. If I did see something, I might not have known what it was. Shapes are just blurs, sometimes. It’s like my grandchildren ‘surfing’ the TV channels, I can’t see to keep up. But if I’d looked harder! if I’d seen a man driving your mother’s car, a strange man, I would—I might—I don’t know what I would have done but I—I might have done something. I might have called Gwen—I might have gone over, to check. I might have called 911.” Gladys paused, pressing both hands against her bosom. She was breathing heavily. “I’ve never called 911 in my life! Not once. Until you came to use my phone, I’d never even known anyone who had. So maybe, I would not have called 911. I’d have been afraid, I think. Walter, too. ‘Don’t get involved’ is what he’s always saying. Like, you’re a witness to a traffic accident, if you give your name to anyone you can be called as a witness, you have to show up in court, or they can arrest you! So Walter would not have called, or wanted me to call. And if I’d seen a man, I might have thought it was some repairman. Like that exterminator man who’d come by, Gwen had had and her lipstick was Revlon Fire Engine Red, she’d been wearing since high school. Beside Clare, I was looking like a disco casualty. Not-new but still serviceable blacksilk” (i. e. silk-seeming) trousers with flaring cuffs, a three-quarter-sleeved smoke-colored see-through designer shirt designed (of course) to be worn over naked breasts but, in this case, worn over a tight black T-shirt top with no pretensions other than sexy. Nikki’s signature smear of purple lipstick but no makeup otherwise. I’d tamped down my hair so that it lay almost flat on my head, a punk chicken with wetted feathers. On my bare luridly white feet, smoke-colored leather-and-Plexiglas platform shoes with a hint of glitter. Clare’s swift assessing gaze took me in, wetted-head to shoes, pitilessly. However I looked, I was on. “Oh, Clare. I just don’t think…” “Then don’t! Don’t think. Like me.” After a funeral service, after a cemetery trip on a bright windy chilly spring morning, mourners are naturally hungry. Food is their reward, and they deserve it. Still I was stunned by the quantity of food on Clare’s beautifully decorated dining room table. Mom’s baked things were a small part of it, really. The caterer had set out lavish platters of smoked salmon, cold sliced meats, deviled eggs, stuffed mushrooms; there was creamed chicken to be served over biscuits; there were rice, pasta, vegetable salads. There was even a huge bowl of Waldorf salad, prepared from Gwen’s recipe. And there were desserts. Many. Always set out more desserts

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 2665.66 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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