engage in deep thought, consideration, or debate
wrestled with the question of whether or not to tell a man about his woman, and having convinced himself that he should, he then began to worry about Sethe.
troubled persistently especially with petty annoyances
vexed by the loss, the free and unasked-for revival of gossip by the man who had helped her cross the river and who was her friend as well as Baby Suggs’?
an early notification about a future event
Maybe he should have left it alone; maybe Sethe would have gotten around to telling him herself; maybe he was not the high-minded Soldier of Christ he thought he was, but an ordinary, plain meddler who had interrupted something going along just fine for the sake of truth and
forewarning, things he set much store by.
burn slightly and superficially so as to affect color
Deeper and more painful than his belated concern for Denver or Sethe,
scorching his soul like a silver dollar in a fool’s pocket, was the memory of Baby Suggs—the mountain to his sky.
the quality of having a good name
It was the memory of her and the
honor that was her due that made him walk straight-necked into the yard of 124, although he heard its voices from the road.
sorrowful through loss or deprivation
But she hadn’t waited and he attended her funeral more put out with her than
That insult spawned another by the mourners: back in the yard of 124, they ate the food they brought and did not touch Sethe’s, who did not touch theirs and
forbade Denver to.
give entirely to a specific person, activity, or cause
So Baby Suggs, holy, having
devoted her freed life to harmony, was buried amid a regular dance of pride, fear, condemnation and spite.
grant an exemption
Dispensing with that formality was all the pay he expected from Negroes in his debt.
lose or lose the right to by some error, offense, or crime
forfeit the one privilege he claimed for himself, he lowered his hand and left the porch.
give up with the intent of never claiming again
Six times in as many days he
abandoned his normal route and tried to knock at 124.
give up the power or possession of another
Digging in the heap she despised herself for having been so trusting, so quick to
surrender at the stove while Paul D kissed her back.
the feeling of lively and cheerful joy
No more discussions, stormy or quiet, about the true meaning of the Fugitive Bill, the Settlement Fee, God’s Ways and Negro pews; antislavery, manumission, skin voting, Republicans, Dred Scott, book learning, Sojourner’s high-wheeled buggy, the Colored Ladies of Delaware, Ohio, and the other weighty issues that held them in chairs, scraping the floorboards or pacing them in agony or
dig up for reburial or for medical investigation
No smashing with an ax head before it is decently
exhumed from the grave that has hidden it all this time.
an involuntary vibration, as if from illness or fear
There was no
tremor in her voice as she instructed them to keep the fire—if not, come on upstairs.
With that, she gathered her blanket around her elbows and
ascended the lily-white stairs like a bride.
uneducated in general; lacking knowledge or sophistication
Her authority in the pulpit, her dance in the Clearing, her powerful Call (she didn’t deliver sermons or preach—insisting she was too
ignorant for that—she called and the hearing heard)—all that had been mocked and rebuked by the bloodspill in her backyard.
involving or likely to cause controversy
Now, eight years after her
contentious funeral and eighteen years after the Misery, he changed his mind.
temporary loss of strength and energy from hard work
The onslaught of her
fatigue, like his, was sudden, but lasted for years.
spur on or encourage especially by cheers and shouts
“That’s one other thing took away from me,” she said, and that was when he
exhorted her, pleaded with her not to quit, no matter what.
feel sorry for; be contrite about
Trying to get to 124 for the second time now, he
regretted that conversation: the high tone he took; his refusal to see the effect of marrow weariness in a woman he believed was a mountain.
express criticism towards
upbraiding her, owing her, now he needed to let her know he knew, and to get right with her and her kin.
unaffected by the continuum from the past to the future
And since that was so—if her daughter could come back home from the
timeless place—certainly her sons could, and would, come back from wherever they had gone to.
noisy and lacking in restraint or discipline
He thought it would make him
rambunctious, renegade—a drunkard even, the debtlessness, and in a way it did.
cause to change; make different
He wasn’t ready to confront the man whose life he had
altered with his graveyard information.
set in motion, cause to start
commenced to walk backward, didn’t even look behind me to find out where I was headed.
moving quickly and lightly
First she’d be up and
spry in the morning and by the second milking she couldn’t stand up.
cause to be agitated or excited
All she had left was her heart and they busted it so even the War couldn’t
an overwhelming feeling of wonder or admiration
He watched them with
awe and envy, and each time he discovered large families of black people he made them identify over and over who each was, what relation, who, in fact, belonged to who.
entry to another's property without right or permission
Maybe schoolteacher shot after him, shot at his feet, to remind him of the
meant or adapted for an occasion or use
Schoolteacher has changed his mind: “This one will never be
prolonged unfulfilled desire or need
He thinks he hears sobbing that seems to come from Mrs. Garner’s window, but it could be anything, anyone, even a she-cat making her
reflect deeply on a subject
Tired of holding his head up, he lets his chin rest on the collar and
speculates on how he can hobble over to the grate, boil a little water and throw in a handful of meal.
make a copy or equivalent of
He wasn’t surprised to learn that they had tracked her down in Cincinnati, because, when he thought about it now, her price was greater than his; property that
reproduced itself without cost.
make right or correct
“If I did you harm, I’m here to