"Life of Pi" -- Vocabulary from Chapters 43-57

"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. horizon
    the line at which the sky and Earth appear to meet
    I kept one eye on the horizon, one eye on the other end of the lifeboat.
  2. whine
    make a high-pitched, screeching noise
    I could hear it whining.
  3. reaction
    a response that reveals a person's feelings or attitude
    My only reaction was to freeze with fear.
  4. typical
    exhibiting the qualities that identify a group or kind
    The look was nearly the typical look of a hyena—blank and frank, the curiosity apparent with nothing of the mental set revealed, jaw hanging open, big ears sticking up rigidly, eyes bright and black—were it not for the strain that exuded from every cell of its body, an anxiety that made the animal glow, as if with a fever.
  5. float
    move lightly, as if suspended
    I seemed to be floating in pure, abstract blackness.
  6. hull
    the frame or body of ship
    With small waves the result was a ceaseless, fist-like beating against the hull, while larger waves made for a tire-some rolling of the boat as it leaned from side to side.
  7. dreadful
    exceptionally bad or displeasing
    And that dreadful night was preceded by a dreadful evening.
  8. dorsal
    on or near the back of an animal or organ
    The largest one came at the boat quickly, as if to attack, its dorsal fin rising out of the water by several inches, but it dipped below just before reaching us and glided underfoot with fearsome grace.
  9. scale
    a measuring instrument for weighing
    Had Orange Juice been a male, had she loomed as large on the scales as she did in my heart, it might have been another matter.
  10. simian
    relating to or resembling an ape
    She looked like a simian Christ on the Cross.
  11. befuddled
    perplexed by many conflicting situations or statements
    But the shipping clerk at the Howrah train station was evidendy a man both befuddled and diligent.
  12. sedate
    cause to be calm or quiet
    Father regularly sedated a number of the animals to lessen their stress.
    In this case, he's sedating them through drugs -- that's actually the most common usage of this word.
  13. sensation
    an unelaborated elementary awareness of stimulation
    I have heard that the hunger for air exceeds as a compelling sensation the thirst for water.
  14. buoyancy
    the tendency to float in water or other liquid
    Inside, it was not as spacious as might be expected because of the side benches and the buoyancy tanks.
  15. ration
    the food allowance for one day
    I found cartons of Seven Oceans Standard Emergency Ration, from faraway, exotic Bergen, Norway.
  16. plastic
    synthetic material that can be molded into objects
    The breakfast that was to make up for nine missed meals, not to mention odd tiffins that Mother had brought along, came in a half-kilo block, dense, solid and vacuum-packed in silver-coloured plastic that was covered with instructions in twelve languages.
  17. survivor
    one who lives through affliction
    According to the instructions, each 500-gram carton was supposed to last one survivor three days.
  18. synthetic
    not of natural origin; prepared or made artificially
    2 buoyant synthetic ropes, each 50 metres long
  19. segment
    one of the parts into which something naturally divides
    With the knife, I cut four segments.
  20. protruding
    extending out above or beyond a surface or boundary
    There were fish— big fish with protruding foreheads and very long dorsal fins, dorados they are called, and smaller fish, lean and long, unknown to me, and smaller ones still—and there were sharks.
  21. practically
    almost; nearly
    But it happened practically in silence.
  22. stern
    the rear part of a ship
    The hyena was leaning against the stern bench, behind the zebra’s carcass, transfixed.
  23. shift
    a qualitative change
    Shifts in the wind changed the direction of the rain so that parts of me that were beginning to feel warm were soaked anew.
  24. moat
    ditch dug as a fortification and usually filled with water
    Vast as the Pacific was around us, suddenly, between us, it seemed a very narrow moat, with no bars or walls.
  25. opponent
    a contestant that you are matched against
    I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life.
  26. utterly
    completely and without qualification
    And tigers hiss and snarl, which, depending on the emotion behind it, sounds either like autumn leaves rustling on the ground, but a little more resonant, or, when it’s an infuriated snarl, like a giant door with rusty hinges slowly opening—in both cases, utterly spine-chilling.
  27. grateful
    feeling or showing thankfulness
    I hated him for it, yet at the same time I was grateful.
  28. maniacal
    wildly disordered
    And as much as I wanted to direct my attention to the horizon, to where my salvation lay, it kept straying back to this maniacal beast.
  29. insouciant
    marked by unconcern
    But in the final set, when the challenger has nothing left to lose, he becomes relaxed again, insouciant, daring.
  30. scrawny
    being very thin
    Out of nowhere, a scrawny brown rat materialized on the side bench, nervous and breathless.

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