"The Red Umbrella," Vocabulary from Part 3

"The Red Umbrella" by Christina Diaz Gonzalez takes place a few years after the Communist revolution in Cuba. A fourteen year-old girl, whose parents fear for her life, is sent alone to make a new life for herself in America. Her journey and her growth are at the center of this novel.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
definitions & notes only words
  1. vacant
    void of thought or knowledge
    A vacant look in her eyes.
  2. tousle
    disarrange or rumple; dishevel
    Papa tousled Frankie’s hair, then took the ball and placed it on the floor next to the table.
  3. somber
    grave or even gloomy in character
    Papa’s somber mood frightened me.
  4. waiver
    a formal written statement of relinquishment
    Alicia Milian was able to get us some visa waivers for you and Frankie
  5. partition
    a vertical structure that divides or separates
    I watched as passengers, both adults and children, formed a line by a glass partition.
  6. pry
    to move or force in an effort to get something open
    Papa walked over and pried Frankie away.
    This word is sometimes used in a figurative way that means to take someone away from something, as it does here.
  7. hunch
    round one's back by bending forward
    The young boy wasn’t crying, or at least I couldn’t tell if he was because he had his shoulders hunched over and seemed to be keeping his head down low.
  8. contraband
    goods whose trade or possession is prohibited by law
    "We are conducting random searches for contraband,” announced the male soldier.
  9. sneer
    express through a scornful smile
    “EL quinto giuano, ” sneered the woman.
  10. herd
    cause to drive together
    A sigh of relief escaped from my lips as the soldiers herded three other kids into a small room.
  11. altitude
    elevation above sea level or above the earth's surface
    I’d never been on a plane before, and seeing things from this altitude gave me a new perspective on how small we really were.
  12. pudgy
    short and plump
    Laura waved at a short, pudgy man and a woman with gray hair pulled into a bun.
  13. sterile
    deficient in originality or creativity
    Here, although I was only a couple hundred miles away, everything felt more sterile, like I'd just walked into an office building.
  14. facility
    a building or place that provides a particular service
    "Our first stop will be the Kendall facility."
  15. barrack
    a building or group of buildings to house military personnel
    "Don’t worry, it may look like army barracks, but the people there will make you and Frankie as comfortable as possible."
  16. loom
    hang over, as of something threatening, dark, or menacing
    The station wagon pulled into a parking space between two looming gray buildings separated by a narrow road.
  17. urgency
    pressing importance requiring speedy action
    Classes at the camp reminded me of school in Cuba, except here there was a sense of urgency in learning English.
  18. mimeograph
    duplicator that uses a stencil through which ink is pressed
    It still had the smell of the mimeograph machine that it had been printed on.
  19. telegram
    a message transmitted by telegraph
    Mrs. Eckhart already sent a telegram to them saying that we were staying here.
  20. censor
    a person authorized to suppress unacceptable material
    I knew that all the mail was checked and read by the Cuban censors, but how much longer would it take?
  21. consequence
    the outcome of an event
    "Lucia, we’ve tried, and Frankie knew there'd be consequences.”
  22. defiant
    boldly resisting authority or an opposing force
    Frankie just crossed his arms and kept the defiant look in his eye.
  23. process
    a particular course of action intended to achieve a result
    “It’s not the way things are normally done . . . we have a process.”
  24. farfetched
    highly imaginative but unlikely
    Frankie’s fears about being slaves suddenly didn’t seem so far-fetched.
  25. kiosk
    small area set off by walls for special use
    He paused in front of a small kiosk, bought a newspaper, then continued down the terminal.