in an abundant manner
She ran errands for Momma when we were busy in the Store and sweated
lean and wrinkled by shrinkage as from age or illness
During grace, Bailey stood in the doorway, a figure of obedience, but I knew his mind was on Tom Sawyer and Jim as mine would have been on Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester, but for the glittering eyes of
wizened old Mr. Taylor.
a striking change in appearance or character or circumstances
If my head had been down I would have missed Mr. Taylor’s
impossible or difficult to perceive by the mind or senses
A bigger house had been set on our roof and was imperceptibly pushing us into the ground.
a song or hymn of mourning composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person
His voice enweaved itself through the somber vapors left by the
slow and laborious because of weight
Then on heavy feet, made more
ponderous by the guilt of the living viewing the dead, the adult church marched up to the coffin and back to their seats.
I couldn’t distinguish whether I was smelling the clutching sound of misery or hearing the
cloying odor of death.
showing hovering attentiveness
The cheeks had fallen back to the ears and a
solicitous mortician had put lipstick on the black mouth.
escape, either physically or mentally
The trip to the kitchen and back could not have taken more than two minutes, yet in that time I tramped through swampy cemeteries, climbed over dusty gravestones and
eluded litters of night-black cats.
summon with a wave, nod, or some other gesture
Everyone was uneasy at being
beckoned into the unknown.
nervous and unable to relax
I laid a pallet for Mr. Taylor in Uncle Willie’s room and crawled under Momma, who I knew for the first time was so good and righteous she could command the
fretful spirits, as Jesus had commanded the sea.
deserving or inciting pity
After tests were returned and grades given, the student body, which acted like an extended family, knew who did well, who excelled, and what
piteous ones had failed.
spread or diffuse through
...blinded them to the collective joy that had
pervaded the lives of the boys and girls in the grammar school graduating class.
tightly woven fabric with raised cords
My class was wearing butter-yellow
pique dresses, and Momma launched out on mine.
cause to be more favorably inclined; gain the good will of
But since he had called our names at the beginning of the service we were
a philosophical doctrine holding that all events are predetermined in advance for all time and human beings are powerless to change them
Somewhere in my
fatalism I had expected to die, accidentally, and never have the chance to walk up the stairs in the auditorium and gracefully receive my hard-earned diploma.
marked by precise accordance with details
meticulous maps, drawn in three colors of ink, learning and spelling decasyllabic words, memorizing the whole of The Rape of Lucrece—it was for nothing.
broadly or extravagantly humorous; resembling farce
We were maids and farmers, handymen and washerwomen, and anything higher that we aspired to was
farcical and presumptuous.
as a formality only
He finished, and since there was no need to give any more than the most
perfunctory thank-you’s, he nodded to the men on the stage, and the tall white man who was never introduced joined him at the door.
capable of being perceived; especially capable of being handled or touched or felt
The ugliness they left was
the trait of being rude and impertinent; inclined to take liberties
Elouise, the daughter of the Baptist minister, recited “Invictus,” and I could have cried at the
impertinence of “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”
an expert manner of speaking involving control of voice and gesture
Henry had been a good student in
Stony the road we trod
Bitter the chastening rod
Felt in the days when hope,
unborn, had died.
voluntary self-punishment in order to atone for some wrongdoing
The Angel of the candy counter had found me out at last, and was exacting excruciating
penance for all the stolen Milky Ways, Mounds, Mr. Goodbars and Hersheys with Almonds.
the area over which a bailiff has jurisdiction
The pain was beyond the
bailiwick of crushed aspirins or oil of cloves.