Tag Archives: glossary


vigil – (noun) the act of keeping awake at times when sleep is customary; also : a period of wakefulness

i found this definition at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vigil

I found this word in the Text the hunger artist.

Of course there were people who argued that this breakfast was an unfair attempt to bribe the watchers, but that was going rather too far, and when they were invited to take on a night’s vigil without a breakfast, merely for the sake of the cause, they made themselves scarce, although they stuck stubbornly to their suspicions.“

Knowing this definition helps understand what they are talking about because a nights vigil could have been anything but now I know that it’s a sleepless time period



Rein (noun) :¬†a strap fastened to a bit by which a rider or driver controls an animal¬†‚ÄĒusually used in plural

The Shawl by Louise Erdrich

“As the uncle slapped the reins and the horse lurched forward, the boy tried to jump into the wagon, but his mother pried his hands off the boards, crying,¬†Gego,¬†gego, and he fell down hard.”

This statement explains that the wife, Aanakwad falls in love with other man and after giving birth to his child, she tries to run away from her home and she leaves her son behind as she takes her daughter and newborn baby with her on the wagon.



Sullen (adjective) : gloomily or resentfully silent or repressed, suggesting a sullen state : lowering 

The Shawl by Louise Erdrich

“Her name was Aanakwad, which means cloud, and like a cloud she was changeable. She was moody and sullen one moment, her lower lip jutting and her eyes flashing, filled with storms.”

In this story, the women whose name is Aanakwad is very bad-tempered women. Her mood changes very quickly from good mood to bad mood. However, her husband loves her no matter who she is but he is also afraid of her when she gets angry.



Plaid (noun) : a rectangular length of tartan worn over the left shoulder as part of the Scottish national costume.

The Shawl by Louise Erdrich

“Soon, she couldn’t rise to cook or keep the cabin neat, and it was too much for the girl, who curled up each night exhausted in her red-and-brown plaid shawl, and slept and slept, until the husband had to wake her to awaken her mother, for he was afraid of his wife’s bad temper, and it was he who roused Aanakwad into anger by the sheer fact that he was himself and not the other.”

This statement explains how the wife is very tough women and has a bad temper. Therefore, she got tired of the housework and she gets covered to her plaid material shawl and tries to relax for a long time. When her husband notices it and she gets very annoyed with him.




Dandelion (noun) : any of a genus (Taraxacum) of yellow-flowered composite herbs with milky sap; especially : one (T. officinale) sometimes grown as a potherb and nearly cosmopolitan as a weed

The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick

” On the other side of the steel fence, far away, there were green meadows speckled with dandelion and deep-colored violets; beyond them, even farther, innocent tiger lilies, tall, lifting their orange bonnets.”

This statement describes Rose’s pain about that her daughter will die and she has no choice and let her go otherwise¬†they all would die.



Devour (verb) :¬†¬†To eat up greedily or ravenously;¬†devoured¬†the turkey and mashed potatoes¬† ¬† To use up or destroy as if by eating;¬†We are¬†devouring¬†the world’s resources.

The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† “And The time that Stella said “Aryan” it sounded to Rosa as is Stella had really said ‘Let us devour her’ ”

Rose had a daughter named Magda and her niece’s name was Stella, They were very hungry¬†and they cant even step an inch¬†from the line if they do the soldiers would shoot them. Therefore, Magla is a baby¬†who is covered by the shawl and¬†Stella¬†is a very young girl who tries to survive and she knows that Magla won’t last long in this condition and she is jealous¬†by how Magla comfortable¬†covered by the shawl. Therefore, when Stella just says “Aryan” Rose hears is as “let us eat her” and gets scared to sacrifice¬†her child.





disdain Рa feeling of contempt for someone or something regarded as unworthy or inferior : scorn

I cam across this word while reading “You In America”, this can be found on page 3, it quoted¬†“He had been to Ghana and Kenya and Tanzania, he had read about all the other African countries, their histories, their complexities. You wanted to feel disdain, to show it as you brought his order, because white people who liked Africa too much and who liked Africa too little were the same‚ÄĒcondescending. ” .After knowing the meaning of this word I believe the narrator is saying that she wanted to feel Scorn “the feeling or belief that someone or something is worthless or despicable; contempt.” She wanted to feel as if hes unworthy, and worthless to her. She didn’t want to show him respect.



condescending – showing or characterized by a patronizing or superior attitude toward others

I came across this word while reading “You In America”. It is located on the second page quoted,¬†“You wanted to feel disdain, to show it as you brought his order, because white people who liked Africa too much and who liked Africa too little were the same‚ÄĒcondescending.” After knowing the definition of this word, I believe that it is saying that white people who like Africa or white people who don’t like Africa both has the same attitude. I think the author is telling us that all white people have the same attitude towards African American people. When people are being condescending they feel more superiority than others.




precariously-  characterized by a lack of security or stability that threatens with danger

I came across this word while reading “You In America”, It is located on the first page quoted, “The people who never broke a profit from the mangoes and akara they hawked, whose houses‚ÄĒzinc sheets precariously held by nails‚ÄĒfell apart in the rainy season.” The word in this quote is describing how the houses are not strongly held together, and struggling to held it self together. Also showing how cheaply and ruin the house condition was. showing us a poor living condition.


Image result for precariously



suffice- to meet or satisfy a need : be sufficient

  • a brief note will¬†suffice

‚ÄĒoften used with an impersonal¬†it

  • suffice¬†it to say that they are dedicated, serious personalities
  • ¬†‚ÄĒCheryl Aldridge

I’ve encountered this word while reading¬†“How to date a brown girl (black girl, white girl, or halfie)” by Junot Diaz. It can be found on page 3, quoted¬†“She might kiss you and then go, or she might, if she’s reckless, give it up, but that’s rare. Kissing will suffice” this word in this quote the author is trying to say if she’s reckless, or leave you kissing will always satisfy her needs.