Jack Gantos's "Dead End in Norvelt" is a funny take on the typical autobiographical "growing up" novel which includes appearances by a sniper rifle, an obituary column and the Hell's Angels. Eleanor Roosevelt also plays an important role.
In Latin, "punctum" means "point" and comes from the Latin verb "pungere" which means "to prick" (which can also be seen in "puncture" and "pungent"). Whether the punctuation is the raising of an eyebrow or the placement of a comma, it serves to make a point that is meant to prick one's attention.
She raised an eyebrow to
punctuate her point then walked down the hall, and I heard her descend the cellar stairs to the laundry room.
Compare with "veer" in the list for Chapters 1-7. The verbs are synonymous, but here it's used to describe a car that's turning out of control, while "veer" was used to describe a deliberate change in path.
The tires squealed as we turned onto the Norvelt road and about thirty seconds later I hit the brakes and we
swerved crazily into the parking lot at the Huffer Funeral Parlor.
The gruesome nature of the tattoos is emphasized by the use of "tattoo" as both a noun and verb in both a literal and figurative way; but this is contrasted with the sound of the word when it's repeated.
Somehow the tattoos were even more
gruesome when they were tattooed on the inside of my mind.
“I can keep the body in the freezer for a few days,” Mr. Huffer said evenly, “but if no one claims him then the Norvelt
paupers’ fund will only pay for cremation. I’d like to give him a proper burial but no one will pay for it.”
affected by involuntary jerky muscular contractions; resembling a spasm
Remember our Puritan ancestors in Salem, Massachusetts, who were stricken with
convulsive dancing, twitching, uncontrollable smirking, and spastic pagan gestures, which were judged to be the signs of Devilish Possession and which led to the Witch Trials where twenty citizens were put to death.
Another way of defining this is "to provide with food or other nutriment necessary for life and growth"--this makes the irony of the example sentence clearer: the blood of the dying bodies nourishes the earth, instead of the earth (in the form of vegetables and fruit) nourishing bodies to keep them alive.
Fiery explosions tossed bodies through the air to bleed out and
nourish the exhausted dirt.
a hot fragment of wood or coal that is left from a fire and is glowing or smoldering
This example sentence is taking the literal and making it figurative: the embers were actually coming off the burning house, but the image of embers glowing inside someone symbolizes energy or passion.
I had tears in my eyes but Miss Volker looked revived, as if a few hot
embers of the house were glowing within her.