"El Deafo" by Cece Bell

In this graphic memoir, Cece Bell chronicles the struggles and triumphs of growing up deaf. Learn these words from the award-winning book.
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Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. context
    the set of facts or circumstances that surround a situation
    CONTEXT CLUES
    Where are you while a person talks to you? What's going on around you during the conversation?
  2. gesture
    motion of hands or body to emphasize a thought or feeling
    GESTURAL CLUES
    What does a person do with her hands and body while she talks to you? What kinds of faces does she make?
  3. drift
    move about aimlessly or without any destination
    Most of the time we are lost, drifting along on our own planets.
  4. clarify
    make clear and comprehensible
    The Phonic Ear makes Mrs. Lufton's voice louder, just for me. It even clarifies her voice—really sharpens it!
  5. hypnotize
    induce a state that resembles sleep in
    An evil smile crosses our hero's face as she hypnotizes Laura, aka Super Bossypants, with the Phonic Ear's Vicious Feedback Squeal!
  6. vicious
    able or disposed to inflict pain or suffering
    An evil smile crosses our hero's face as she hypnotizes Laura, aka Super Bossypants, with the Phonic Ear's Vicious Feedback Squeal!
  7. virtue
    the quality of doing what is right
    With the speed of light, our hero hurls the Earmolds of Virtue at Super Bossypants...
  8. intuition
    instinctive knowing, without the use of rational processes
    ...and ties her up with the Cords of Intuition!
  9. shudder
    tremble convulsively, as from fear or excitement
    A dazed Super Bossypants shudders in terror when she realizes her fate!
  10. enable
    provide the means to perform some task
    Luckily, the On/Off Switch of Awesomeness enables our hero to ignore Super Bossypants' pathetic pleas for help!
  11. pathetic
    inspiring mixed contempt and pity
    Luckily, the On/Off Switch of Awesomeness enables our hero to ignore Super Bossypants' pathetic pleas for help!
  12. appropriate
    suitable for a particular person, place, or situation
    Urm...I'm not sure these movies are all that appropriate for you...
  13. obnoxious
    causing disapproval or protest
    But luckily they are nice enough to tell me what the people on TV are saying...without ever being obnoxious about it.
  14. interrogate
    pose a series of questions to
    The Super Villains interrogate El Deafo—and torture her with more Somewhere in Time!
  15. accost
    approach and speak to someone aggressively or insistently
    But it's not over yet for El Deafo! She is accosted by another menacing foe...
  16. menacing
    threatening or foreshadowing evil or tragic developments
    But it's not over yet for El Deafo! She is accosted by another menacing foe...
  17. dastardly
    extremely wicked
    At long last, El Deafo faces the mightiest foe of all, the dastardly SuperGinny.
  18. bliss
    a state of extreme happiness
    Ah, summer. Three months of freedom. Three months of bliss. Three months of not wearing the Phonic Ear.
  19. mime
    an actor who communicates entirely by gesture
    But some of the people doing sign language? At me? Some people put on a real show when they start signing—almost like mimes!
  20. vital
    urgently needed; absolutely necessary
    Let's talk about American Sign Language. It's the main language used by deaf people—and it is vital for their communication with other deaf people and their families and friends.
  21. complex
    complicated in structure
    Sign language is quite different from spoken English. It's a very rich language—a very complex language.
  22. miserable
    very unhappy
    I can't believe that my own mother can't see that I am absolutely miserable.
  23. shackle
    a restraint that confines or restricts freedom
    How can El Deafo free herself from the shackles of this weekly humiliation?
  24. persuasion
    communication intended to induce belief or action
    Our hero unleashes her Powers of Persuasion...
  25. unfurl
    unroll, unfold, or spread out
    Enraged, El Deafo busts out of the handcuffs...and unfurls her torpedo-like wrath onto her own mother!
  26. wrath
    intense anger, usually on an epic scale
    Enraged, El Deafo busts out of the handcuffs...and unfurls her torpedo-like wrath onto her own mother!
  27. woe
    misery resulting from affliction
    Oh, woe...
  28. swerve
    turn sharply; change direction abruptly
    By the power of the pinkie, do you swear to join the fight against boredom and loneliness, and to never swerve from the path of true friendship?
  29. lure
    provoke someone to do something through persuasion
    Perhaps the all-powerful rosette on my undershirt will lure my supercrush into my loving arms!
  30. magnification
    the act of expanding something in apparent size
    MEGA-MAGNIFICATION of the ALL-POWERFUL ROSETTE! Behold its astounding beauty!
  31. impress
    have a positive impact on
    Maybe I can impress her with my new glasses!
  32. satisfactory
    meeting requirements
    Not satisfactory?! What?!?
  33. outraged
    angered at something unjust or wrong
    With or without superpowers, I am still El Deafo—and I am outraged!
  34. feat
    a notable achievement
    Our great nation presents this physical fitness award to you, El Deafo, for your remarkable feats of skill and talent!
  35. bawl
    cry loudly
    I can't believe this! I'm in the fifth grade and I'm bawling in front of everybody!
  36. embarrassed
    feeling or caused to feel uneasy and self-conscious
    Mike sure looks embarrassed. I wish I could talk to him and make him feel better.
  37. surpass
    be or do something to a greater degree
    Its beauty shall ne'er surpass that of the one you wear upon your breast!
  38. static
    crackling or hissing noise caused by electrical interference
    And now there's so much static! Mike must have gone farther than the microphone can.
  39. concentrate
    direct one's attention on something
    I can't concentrate on anything, not even on what Mrs. Sinklemann is saying.
  40. counselor
    someone who gives advice about problems
    Our guidance counselor, Mrs. Catawba, is going to visit us this morning.

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