adjective: gloomily or resentfully silent or repressed

From “The Shawl”

“She was moody and sullen one moment, her lower lip jutting and her eyes flashing, filled with storms. The next, she would shake her hair over her face and blow it straight out in front of her to make her children scream with laughter.”


Capricious; adjective; subject to, led by, or indicative of a sudden, odd notion or unpredictable change; erratic.

From The Shawl by Louise Erdrich: “He became, for us, a thing to be avoided, outsmarted, and exploited. We survived off him as if he were a capricious and dangerous line of work. I suppose we stopped thinking of him as a human being, certainly as a father.”

After searching this word, I see that the narrator was describing his father as something dangerous and unpredictable. He and the siblings he was referring to saw their father as someone crazy.


Monotonously; adjective; lacking in variety, tediously unvarying.

From The Shawl by Louise Erdrich: “If she could have thrown off that wronghearted love, she would have, but the thought of the other man, who lived across the lake, was with her always. She became a gray sky, stared monotonously at the walls, sometimes wept into her hands for hours at a time.”

After searching this word, I now understand that the narrator described the women as boring, having no variety or activity. She had become flat.



Monotonous; adjective; lacking in variety; tediously unvarying.

From “The Metamorphosis” pg 14 of 31: “Hearing these words from his mother made Gregor realise that the lack of any direct human communication, along with the monotonous life led by the family during these two months, must have made him confused- he could think of no other way of explaining to himself why he had seriously wanted his room emptied out.”

From searching this word, I now understand that the family was leading a boring life, with no change or exciting events. The life that they were living lead Gregor to want to have the furniture removed from his room.


Impervious; adjective; incapable of being influenced, persuaded, or affected.

From ” A Rose for Emily” pg 5, “Now and then we would see her in one of the downstairs windows– she had evidently shut up the top floor of the house– like the carven torso of an idol in a niche, looking or not looking at us, we could never tell which. Thus she passed from generation to generation– dear, inescapable, impervious, tranquil, and perverse.

After searching the word, I now understand that as the years passed, Miss Emily grew unaffected from any news or events that occurred in her life. She was in a sense, unsensible to any feelings or thoughts.


Peculiarity – noun; 1) the quality or state of being peculiar – adjective – different from the usual or normal

From the story “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne “It was all as lonely as could be; and there is this peculiarity in such a solitude, that the traveler knows not who may be concealed by the innumerable trunks and the thick boughs overhead; so that, with lonely footsteps, he may yet be passing through an unseen multitude.” (paragraph 8)

Now I understand that he know it’s going to be a lonely trip but something special is waiting ahead of him after he pass through this road.