"Sula," Vocabulary from pages 30-48

"Sula" is a tribute to outcasts, those people who don't quite fit in or refuse to, and the title character is one of the biggest outcasts author Toni Morrison has ever created.

Learn these word lists: pages 1-29, pages 30-48, pages 49-85, pages 89-137, and pages 138-174.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. stray
    an animal that has wandered off
    The creator and sovereign of this enormous house with the four sickle-pear trees in the front yard and the single elm in the back yard was Eva Peace, who sat in a wagon on the third floor directing the lives of her children, friends, strays, and a constant stream of boarders.
    In this particular usage, "stray" doesn't just mean animals -- it's being used metaphorically to refer to people who have wandered away and don't belong anywhere in particular
  2. calf
    the muscular back part of the shank
    Her dresses were mid- calf so that her one glamorous leg was always in view as well as the long fall of space below her left thigh.
  3. ricochet
    spring back; spring away from an impact
    Plum stopped crying as the black hard stools ricocheted onto the frozen ground.
  4. rent
    let for money
    First she reclaimed her children, next she gave the surprised Mrs. Suggs a ten-dollar bill, later she started building a house on Carpenter’s Road, sixty feet from BoyBoy’s one-room cabin, which she rented out.
  5. shiny
    reflecting light
    His shoes were a shiny orange, and he had on a citified straw hat, a light-blue suit, and a cat’s-head stickpin in his tie.
  6. gesture
    motion of hands or body to emphasize a thought or feeling
    He swept his hat off with a satisfied gesture.
  7. gossip
    a report about the behavior of other people
    Their conversation was easy: she catching him up on all the gossip, he asking about this one and that one, and like everybody else avoiding any reference to her leg.
  8. prejudice
    disadvantage by bias
    Operating on a private scheme of preference and prejudice, she sent off for children she had seen from the balcony of her bedroom or whose circumstances she had heard about from the gossipy old men who came to play checkers or read the Courier, or write her number.
  9. wholly
    to the full or entire extent
    Stouthearted, surly, and wholly unpredictable, the deweys remained a mystery not only during all of their lives in Medallion but after as well.
  10. bequeath
    leave or give, especially by will after one's death
    It was manlove that Eva bequeathed to her daughters.
    Again, the word is being used metaphorically -- it's not literally in her will.
  11. hoist
    When he heard it, the man tipped his hat down a little over his eyes, hoisted his trousers and thought about the hollow place at the base of her neck.
  12. seldom
    not often
    When those places were not available, she would slip into the seldom-used parlor, or even up to her bedroom.
  13. chuckle
    laugh quietly or with restraint
    He chuckled as though he had heard some private joke.
  14. exude
    make apparent by one's mood or behavior
    Talking about his appointments and exuding an odor of new money and idleness, he danced down the steps and strutted toward the pea-green dress.
  15. cocoon
    silky envelope spun by the larvae of many insects
    Slowly each boy came out of whatever cocoon he was in at the time his mother or somebody gave him away, and accepted Eva’s view, becoming in fact as well as in name a dewey—joining with the other two to become a trinity with a plural name ... inseparable, loving nothing and no one but themselves.
    This is a figurative use of "cocoon."
  16. idiosyncrasy
    a behavioral attribute peculiar to an individual
    Under Eva’s distant eye, and prey to her idiosyncrasies, her own children grew up stealthily: Pearl married at fourteen and moved to Flint, Michigan, from where she posted frail letters to her mother with two dollars folded into the writing paper.
  17. guileless
    free of deceit
    Her flirting was sweet, low and guileless.
  18. evaluation
    act of ascertaining or fixing the value or worth of
    The people either accepted his own evaluation of his life, or were indifferent to it.
  19. stench
    a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
    Deep in its darkness and freezing stench she squatted down, turned the baby over on her knees, exposed his buttocks and shoved the last bit of food she had in the world (besides three beets) up his ass.
  20. engulf
    flow over or cover completely
    Quickly, as the whoosh of flames engulfed him, she shut the door and made her slow and painful journey back to the top of the house.

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