"Life of Pi" -- Vocabulary from Chapters 21-42

"Life of Pi" by Yann Martel is the simple story of a boy on a raft. If that sounds relaxing, there's one problem -- there is also a tiger on the raft.

Before you see the movie, read Yann Martel's exciting novel "Life of Pi" and learn these word lists: Ch's 1-20, Ch's 21-42, Ch's 43-57, Ch's 58-80, and Ch's 81-100.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. wise
    having intelligence and discernment
    But fate decided that my parents and I and the three wise men, as I shall call them, should meet one day on the Goubert Salai seaside esplanade and that my secret should be outed.
  2. prophet
    someone who speaks by divine inspiration
    As for Ravi, if Lord Krishna had held a cricket bat rather than a flute, if Christ had appeared more plainly to him as an umpire, if the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, had shown some notions of bowling, he might have lifted a religious eyelid, but they didn’t, and so he slumbered.
  3. defend
    protect against a challenge or attack
    There are always those who take it upon themselves to defend God, as if Ultimate Reality, as if the sustaining frame of existence, were something weak and helpless.
  4. mystery
    something that baffles understanding and cannot be explained
    “Father and I find your religious zeal a bit of a mystery.”
  5. modern
    belonging to the period after the Middle Ages
    We’re a modern Indian family; we live in a modern way; India is on the cusp of becoming a truly modern and advanced nation—and here we’ve produced a son who thinks he’s the reincarnation of Sri Ramakrishna.”
  6. aviary
    a building where birds are kept
    And when that tree was in bloom, it was a regular aviary of crows, mynahs, babblers, rosy pastors, sunbirds and parakeets.
  7. constitution
    law determining the fundamental principles of a government
    The takeover was smoothly enforced—Chief Minister Karunanidhi’s ministry vanished quietly into “resignation” or house arrest—and what does the fall of one local government matter when the whole country’s Constitution has been suspended these last eight months?
  8. recognize
    detect with the senses
    But I had noticed before that it was when I tried my hardest to recognize him that I was least able to pick him out.
  9. viper
    a venomous Old World snake
    We had a mouse that lived for several weeks with the vipers.
  10. focus
    the concentration of attention or energy on something
    A Union cabinet minister is the focus of attention.
  11. trade
    the commercial exchange of goods and services
    CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, had just come into effect, and the window on the trading of captured wild animals had slammed shut.
  12. drown
    die from being submerged in water
    I had a wet, trembling, half- drowned, heaving and coughing three-year-old adult Bengal tiger in my lifeboat.
  13. level
    a position on a scale of intensity or amount or quality
    It was precisely because the level of noise was so uniform that we slept like babies.
  14. cargo
    goods carried by a large vehicle
    We were in Manila for two days, a question of fresh feed, new cargo and, we were told, the performing of routine maintenance work on the engines.
  15. prow
    the front part of a vessel
    The tarpaulin was not as securely fixed going over the stem—which had a very short prow, what in a face would be called a snub nose—as it was elsewhere around the boat.
  16. claw
    scratch, scrape, pull, or dig with nails
    Since he had not seen me, he had no reason to claw his way through it.
  17. gesture
    something done as an indication of intention
    Without thinking about it, only because it was at hand’s reach and about to sink, I took hold of the net and pulled it aboard, a casual gesture that would turn out to be a lifesaver in many ways; this net would become one of my most precious possessions.
  18. flotsam
    the floating wreckage of a ship
    Only rain, marauding waves of black ocean and the flotsam of tragedy.
  19. bemused
    perplexed by many conflicting situations or statements
    Yes, it was all forcefully brought to the attention of my bemused parents.
  20. self-righteous
    excessively or hypocritically pious
    Meanwhile, the lot of widows and homeless children is very hard, and it is to their defence, not God’s, that the self-righteous should rush.

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