Gradually from naming an object we advance step by step until we have traversed the vast distance between our first
stammered syllable and the sweep of thought in a line of Shakespeare.
not sufficient to meet a need
My ideas were vague, and my vocabulary was
inadequate; but as my knowledge of things grew, and I learned more and more words, my field of inquiry broadened, and I would return again and again to the same subject, eager for further information.
restore from a depressed, inactive, or unused state
Sometimes a new word
revived an image that some earlier experience had engraved on my brain.
exhibiting equivalence or correspondence among constituents
A day or two afterward I was stringing beads of different sizes in
symmetrical groups—two large beads, three small ones, and so on.
existing only in the mind
In a flash I knew that the word was the name of the process that was going on in my head. This was my first conscious perception of an
expression whose meaning cannot be inferred from its words
If I did not know the words and
idioms necessary to express my thoughts she supplied them, even suggesting conversation when I was unable to keep up my end of the dialogue.
any information or event that acts to arouse action
My teacher, realizing this, determined to supply the kinds of
stimulus I lacked.
using exactly the same words
This she did by repeating to me as far as possible,
verbatim, what she heard, and by showing me how I could take part in the conversation.
the first of a series of actions
But it was a long time before I ventured to take the
initiative, and still longer before I could find something appropriate to say at the right time.
pleasantness resulting from agreeable conditions
The deaf and the blind find it very difficult to acquire the
amenities of conversation.
a complete extent or range
They cannot distinguish the tone of the voice or, without assistance, go up and down the
gamut of tones that give significance to words; nor can they watch the expression of the speaker's face, and a look is often the very soul of what one says.
a sleeveless dress resembling an apron
One day, Miss Sullivan tells me, I pinned the word girl on my
pinafore and stood in the wardrobe.
in a serious manner
Even when I studied most
earnestly it seemed more like play than work.
an inherent cognitive or perceptual power of the mind
Added to this she had a wonderful
faculty for description. She went quickly over uninteresting details, and never nagged me with questions to see if I remembered the day-before-yesterday's lesson.
sing or play alternating with the half note above or below
Indeed, everything that could hum, or buzz, or sing, or bloom had a part in my education—noisy-throated frogs, katydids and crickets held in my hand until forgetting their embarrassment, they
trilled their reedy note, little downy chickens and wildflowers, the dogwood blossoms, meadow-violets and budding fruit trees.
angered at something unjust or wrong
I felt the bursting cotton-bolls and fingered their soft fiber and fuzzy seeds; I felt the low soughing of the wind through the cornstalks, the silky rustling of the long leaves, and the
indignant snort of my pony, as we caught him in the pasture and put the bit in his mouth—ah me! how well I remember the spicy, clovery smell of his breath!
motivation deriving from ethical or moral principles
When I had accomplished this my
conscience was at rest for the day, and I went out quickly to find my playmates.
not hurried or forced
In this same
leisurely manner I studied zoology and botany.
sculpture that projects only slightly from the background
Once a gentleman, whose name I have forgotten, sent me a collection of fossils—tiny mollusk shells beautifully marked, and bits of sandstone with the print of birds' claws, and a lovely fern in
so extremely old as seeming to belong to an earlier period
These were the keys which unlocked the treasures of the
antediluvian world for me.
lacking refinement or cultivation or taste
With trembling fingers I listened to Miss Sullivan's descriptions of the terrible beasts, with
uncouth, unpronounceable names, which once went tramping through the primeval forests, tearing down the branches of gigantic trees for food, and died in the dismal swamps of an unknown age.
made smooth and bright by or as if by rubbing
Another time a beautiful shell was given me, and with a child's surprise and delight I learned how a tiny mollusk had built the
lustrous coil for his dwelling place, and how on still nights, when there is no breeze stirring the waves, the Nautilus sails on the blue waters of the Indian Ocean in his "ship of pearl."
in a consistent manner
The slender, fingerlike leaves on the outside opened slowly, reluctant, I thought, to reveal the loveliness they hid; once having made a start, however, the opening process went on rapidly, but in order and
consideration in dealing with others
It was my teacher's genius, her quick sympathy, her loving
tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful.
transmit, as knowledge or a skill
It was because she seized the right moment to
impart knowledge that made it so pleasant and acceptable to me.
calm and free from disturbance
...she attempted to guide my mind on its way, knowing that like a brook it should be fed by mountain streams and hidden springs, until it broadened out into a deep river, capable of reflecting in its
placid surface, billowy hills, the luminous shadows of trees and the blue heavens, as well as the sweet face of a little flower.
inborn or existing naturally
How much of my delight in all beautiful things is
innate, and how much is due to her influence, I can never tell.
force somebody to do something
She was covered with dirt—the remains of mud pies I had
compelled her to eat, although she had never shown any special liking for them.
expressing disapproval, blame, or disappointment
When I next saw her she was a formless heap of cotton, which I should not have recognized at all except for the two bead eyes which looked out at me
of or relating to the hands
It delighted me inexpressibly to find that they knew the
manual alphabet. What joy to talk with other children in my own language!
light-hearted recreational activity for amusement
I knew I could not see; but it did not seem possible that all the eager, loving children who gathered round me and joined heartily in my
frolics were also blind.
the disadvantage that results from losing something
Although I had been told this before, and although I understood my own
deprivations, yet I had thought vaguely that since they could hear, they must have a sort of "second sight," and I was not prepared to find one child and another and yet another deprived of the same precious gift.
productive work, especially physical work done for wages
I could touch it, and perhaps that made the coming of the Pilgrims and their
toils and great deeds seem more real to me.
raise in a relief
I have often held in my hand a little model of the Plymouth Rock which a kind gentleman gave me at Pilgrim Hall, and I have fingered its curves, the split in the centre and the
embossed figures "1620," and turned over in my mind all that I knew about the wonderful story of the Pilgrims.
of or concerned with or related to the future
I was delighted, for my mind was full of the
prospective joys and of the wonderful stories I had heard about the sea.
tending to float on a liquid or rise in air or gas
buoyant motion of the water filled me with an exquisite, quivering joy.
having great mass and weight and unwieldiness
I felt the pebbles rattling as the waves threw their
ponderous weight against the shore; the whole beach seemed racked by their terrific onset, and the air throbbed with their pulsations.
having your attention fixated as though by a spell
The breakers would swoop back to gather themselves for a mightier leap, and I clung to the rock, tense,
fascinated, as I felt the dash and roar of the rushing sea!
a notable achievement
feat pleased me highly, as his body was very heavy, and it took all my strength to drag him half a mile.
spread or diffuse through
Here were great oaks and splendid evergreens with trunks like mossy pillars, from the branches of which hung garlands of ivy and mistletoe, and persimmon trees, the odour of which
pervaded every nook and corner of the wood—an illusive, fragrant something that made the heart glad.