The Printable KISS Grammar Workbooks The Theodore Dreiser Page
(Code and Color Key)

The First Paragraph of
The Lost Phoebe by Theodore Dreiser
Analysis Key

     THEY LIVED together {in a part} {of the country} [Adj. to "part" which was not so

prosperous (PA) [Adv. to "so" as it had once been]], about [#1] three miles [NuA]

{from one} {of those towns} [Adj. to "towns" that, {instead of increasing [#2]} {in 

population}, is steadily decreasing]. | The territory was not very thickly settled (P) 

[#3]; | perhaps *there was* [#4] a house (PN) every other mile [NuA] or so, {with

large acres} {of corn- and wheat-land and fallow fields} [Adj. to "fields" that {at odd 

seasons} had been sown (P) {to timothy and clover}]. | Their particular house was

part [#5] log (PA) and part [#5] frame (PA), the log portion being [#6] the old original

home {of Henry's grandfather}. | The new portion, {of now rain-beaten, time-worn slabs}

[Adj. to "slabs" {through which} [#7] the wind squeaked {in the chinks} {at times},] and

[Adj. to "slabs" which [#8] several overshadowing elms and a butternut-tree made

picturesque [#8] and reminiscently pathetic [#8], but a little [NuA] damp [#8],] was

erected (P) {by Henry} [Adv. to "was erected" when he was twenty-one (PA) and

just married (PA) [#9] ]. |

1. "About" here means approximately and thus functions as an adverb to "three." A good argument can be made that the "about three miles" phrase modifies the "was" in the "which was" clause. That explanation would put the rest of the sentence inside that "which was" clause. I'm taking the preceding comma as separating it from that clause, thereby throwing it back to "lived" (or "country"). This is another example of how, when sentences become long and complex, it becomes difficult to determine precisely what some words chunk to.
2. "Increasing" is a gerund that functions as the object of the preposition.
3. Alternatively, "settled" may be explained as a gerundive functioning as a predicate adjective.
4. Because of the preceding semicolon, I have considered this to be a separate main clause and have thus used ellipsis to supply the subject and verb. This is, however, simply a KISS convention. Thus some people could justifiably skip the ellipsis and explain "house" as a noun used as an adverb (modifying "not very thickly"). This explanation, which is what I would have done had the semicolon been a comma, combines the two main clauses into one.
5. The grammarians will have a picnic with "part log and part frame." Within KISS, we can explain "part" in three different ways. We can consider it to be a simple adjective, or we can use ellipsis to consider it to be either a reduction of the prepositional phrase "in part" or a reduction of the adverb "partially." Although I have explained "log" and "frame" as predicate adjectives, they could alternatively be explained as predicate nouns. Some people, however, would also see this sentence as meaning "was *made of* part log and part frame. This would make "log" and "frame" objects of the preposition. Grammarians, many of whom believe that there can be only one "right" explanations (theirs) will thus have a picnic debating the explanations of "part log and part fame." While they are fiddling, however, none of them come close to enabling students to understand the more important noun absolute construction that follows.
6. "Portion being ... home" is the core of a noun absolute construction that modifies "was." Alternatively, "log portion" can be seen as an appositive to the preceding "log." Then one can explain "being...home" as a gerundive that modifies portion, or one can consider the whole noun absolute as an appositive to "log portion."
7. Note how "which" functions simultaneously as the object of the preposition and as the subordinating conjunction.
8. This "which" functions simultaneously as the subordinating conjunction and part of the direct object of "made." In its function as direct object, KISS explains it as the subject of an ellipsed infinitive -- The elms and butter-nut tree made which [them] *to be* picturesque and ...pathetic, but ...damp,..." "Picturesque," "pathetic" and "damp" are predicate adjectives to the ellipsed infinitive, and the infinitive phrase functions as the direct object of "made." [Many grammarians would consider the "which" to be the direct object of "made" and the predicate adjectives to be objective complements.]
9. Some people may prefer to explain "married" as part of a passive finite verb.