"Sula," Vocabulary from pages 49-85 30 words

As you read Toni Morrison’s 1973 novel “Sula,” learn these word lists: pages 1-29, pages 30-48, pages 49-85, pages 89-137, and pages 138-174.
  1. stance
    standing posture
    Every passerby, every motorcar, every alteration in stance caught their attention and was commented on.
  2. embarrassment
    the shame you feel when your inadequacy or guilt is made public
    Nel and Sula walked through this valley of eyes chilled by the wind and heated by the embarrassment of appraising stares.
  3. definitive
    clearly defined or formulated
    Pig meat. The words were in all their minds. And one of them, one of the young ones, said it aloud. Softly but definitively and there was no mistaking the compliment.
  4. graceful
    characterized by beauty of movement, style, form, or execution
    Graceful and economical in every movement, he held a place of envy with men of all ages for his magnificently foul mouth.
  5. curse
    utter obscenities or profanities
    In fact he seldom cursed, and the epithets he chose were dull, even harmless.
  6. glaze
    become glassy or take on a glass-like appearance
    Years later their own eyes would glaze as they cupped their chins in remembrance of the inchworm smiles, the squatting haunches, the track-rail legs straddling broken chairs.
  7. straddle
    sit or stand astride of
    Years later their own eyes would glaze as they cupped their chins in remembrance of the inchworm smiles, the squatting haunches, the track-rail legs straddling broken chairs.
  8. wedge
    squeeze like a wedge into a tight space
    Similarly, Sula, also an only child, but wedged into a household of throbbing disorder constantly awry with things, people, voices and the slamming of doors, spent hours in the attic behind a roll of linoleum galloping through her own mind on a gray-and-white horse tasting sugar and smelling roses in full view of a someone who shared both the taste and the speed.
  9. awry
    away from the correct or expected course
    Similarly, Sula, also an only child, but wedged into a household of throbbing disorder constantly awry with things, people, voices and the slamming of doors, spent hours in the attic behind a roll of linoleum galloping through her own mind on a gray-and-white horse tasting sugar and smelling roses in full view of a someone who shared both the taste and the speed.
  10. fleck
    a small contrasting part of something
    The birthmark was to grow darker as the years passed, but now it was the same shade as her gold-flecked eyes, which, to the end, were as steady and clean as rain.
  11. mood
    a characteristic (habitual or relatively temporary) state of feeling
    Yet there was one time when that was not true, when she held on to a mood for weeks, but even that was in defense of Nel.
  12. pervasive
    spreading or spread throughout
    What they found was a strange accent, a pervasive fear of their religion and firm resistance to their attempts to find work.
  13. resident
    someone who lives at a particular place for a prolonged period or who was born there
    With one exception the older residents of Medallion scorned them.
  14. skittish
    unpredictably excitable (especially of horses)
    It was in that summer, the summer of their twelfth year, the summer of the beautiful black boys, that they became skittish, frightened and bold—all at the same time.
  15. prod
    to push against gently
    He would have left him there but noticed that it was a child, not an old black man, as it first appeared, and he prodded the body loose, netted it and hauled it aboard.
  16. bemused
    deeply absorbed in thought
    Later, sitting down to smoke on an empty lard tin, still bemused by God’s curse and the terrible burden his own kind had of elevating Ham’s sons, he suddenly became alarmed by the thought that the corpse in this heat would have a terrible odor, which might get into the fabric of his woolen cloth.
  17. apology
    an expression of regret at having caused trouble for someone
    Eva couldn’t see Hannah clearly for the tears, but she looked up at her anyway and said, by way of apology or explanation or perhaps just by way of neatness, “But I held him close first."
  18. strut
    to walk with a lofty proud gait, often in an attempt to impress others
    Hens strutted by with one suspicious eye on the deweys, another on the brick fireplace where sheets and mason jars were boiled.
  19. crash
    fall or come down violently
    She missed and came crashing down some twelve feet from Hannah’s smoke.
  20. agony
    intense feelings of suffering; acute mental or physical pain
    She lay there on the wooden sidewalk planks, twitching lightly among the smashed tomatoes, her face a mask of agony so intense that for years the people who gathered ’round would shake their heads at the recollection of it.
  21. reception
    a formal party of people; as after a wedding
    A real wedding, in a church, with a real reception afterward, was rare among the people of the Bottom.
  22. role
    the actions and activities assigned to or required or expected of a person or group
    So it was rage, rage and a determination to take on a man’s role anyhow that made him press Nel about settling down.
  23. hint
    an indirect suggestion
    Nel’s indifference to his hints about marriage disappeared altogether when she discovered his pain.
  24. wagon
    any of various kinds of wheeled vehicles drawn by an animal or a tractor
    “Now,” Eva looked up across from her wagon at her daughter.
  25. euphoria
    a feeling of great (usually exaggerated) elation
    In a state of euphoria, with a hunger for more and more, die council of founders cast its eye toward a future that would certainly include trade from cross-river towns.
  26. adulthood
    the state (and responsibilities) of a person who has attained maturity
    He needed some of his appetites filled, some posture of adulthood recognized, but mosdy he wanted someone to care about his hurt, to care very deeply.
  27. camaraderie
    the quality of affording easy familiarity and sociability
    More than anything he wanted the camaraderie of the road men: the lunch buckets, the hollering, the body movement that in the end produced something real, something he could point to.
  28. brooch
    a decorative pin worn by women
    The tea roses above her left breast had slipped from the brooch that fastened them and were hanging heads down.
  29. graduation
    the successful completion of a program of study
    She thought it was the perfect thing to do following their graduation from general school.
  30. capitalize
    draw advantages from
    In fact, she handled most of the details very efficiently, capitalizing on the fact that most people were anxious to please her since she had lost her mamma only a few years back and they still re-membered the agony in Hannah’s face and the blood on Eva’s.