Bemoaned (verb) – to express deep grief or distress over
From “You In America” by Amanda Ngozi Adichie
I came across this word while reading “You In America” by Amanda Ngozi Adichie. It appears around the middle of the reading, as the author talks about how other individuals perceive you, and how it changes depending on the kind of people. It caught my interest because it’s a word I don’t hear quite often and didn’t know it’s meaning, so i’m curious as to how it ties in with the sentence and the author’s overall point.
“The old white women who muttered and glared at him, the black men who shook their heads at you, the black women whose pitiful eyes bemoaned your lack of self-esteem, your self-loathing.” (Adichie).
After reading the definition of the word I better understand the context of how the author was using it in that part of the text. As seen in the quote, the author is discribing how the individuals perceived you negatively.
Lure, verb: to draw with a hint of pleasure or gain.
We came across this word in the beginning of chapter 18 of Quicksand. It’s used to describe Helga’s new found ability to attract attention using her beauty. The context of the sentence describes it as a “deliberate lure,” which could be read as a flirty demeanor.
“And Helga, since her return, was more than ever popular at parties. Her courageous clothes attracted attention, and her deliberate lure—as Olsen had called it—held it. Her life in Copenhagen had taught her to expect and accept admiration as her due.”
Pretentious (adjective) – making demands on one’s skill, ability, or means
Source – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pretentious
From “The Complete Fiction of Nella Larson” by Nella Larsen, “Quicksand” Chapter 17 Page 125
“The easement which it’s heedless abandon brought to her was a real, a very definite thing. She liked the sharp contrast to her pretentious stately life in Copenhagen.”
Here, the word pretentious is used to describe how Helga has established a life full of comfort and extravagant living in Copenhagen.