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The Splintering of the American Mind

  by William Egginton

(about 331 pages)
total words
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library
passive voice
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all adverbs
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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:

taxes or being called to jury duty. The problem is that, as one commentator has put it, “Americans don’t like to be told what they have to do.” But to make service nearly universal some serious carrots would have to be deployed, which, naturally, undercuts the very spirit of community that a year of national service is intended to bolster. If obligatory universal service is truly politically impossible, we could make the carrot be a far more generous higher-education scholarship, to be used at any university that grants the candidate admission. Currently the maximum education grant from AmeriCorps is limited to just shy of six thousand dollars, an amount that, while significant for less-advantaged students, doesn’t make much of a dent in the tuitions of many state or private schools. An agreement among universities to underwrite a year of tuition for every year of public service would be both fair and feasible. It would help solder together the goals of service and higher education in the public imagination. And to ensure compliance, universities’ tax-free status and eligibility for public funds could be made contingent on participating. The call to public service is right. It has been made before and will be made again. But it will fall on deaf ears if we cannot change the way we talk about community in this country. Can it be that we have forgotten something that our liberal tradition has long known, that our democracy cannot be taken for granted, that civil society doesn’t A tall white boy with spiked hair wearing a heavy-metal T-shirt walked by a black girl in shorts and sandals in an animated conversation with a teacher. No one seemed to notice as a middle-schooler dressed in what looked like gray camouflage pajamas slid backward down the stairway’s central banister … while reading a book. A flock of girls dressed for lacrosse moving toward my left passed through a small orchestra moving toward my right on its way to the music rooms; like colliding galaxies they momentarily merged and then parted with no observable mishaps. Outside on the spacious campus, kids are playing sports, of course. But they are also building lean-tos in the woods, taking water samples from the creek, and building trebuchets with which to launch pumpkins across an open field. That may sound like a lot of fun; but the kids I saw were also busily calculating launch angles and x-displacement in a frantic quest to come up with the most accurate predictions of where, exactly, those pumpkins were going to go splat. At Park School I spoke with two teachers, Kirk Wulf, who teaches English, and Peter Warren, who teaches history. A lanky, blond, bearded man, Kirk could just as easily be a surf instructor in Venice, California, as an English teacher in Baltimore; indeed, he brings something of the former vibe to his job. Peter, his counterpart in the history department, has intense and empathetic eyes framed by short-cropped white hair and a neatly trimmed beard

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 1653.88 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 William Egginton

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