do something that one considers to be below one's dignity
It was where salesmen touched her and only her as though she were part of the goods they had
condescended to sell her; it was the tissue required if the management was generous enough to let you try on a blouse (but no hat) in a store.
request urgently or persistently
When Alice Manfred collected the little girl from the Miller sisters, on those evenings following the days her fine stitching was
solicited, the three women sat down in the kitchen to hum and sigh over cups of Postum at the signs of Imminent Demise...
close in time; about to occur
When Alice Manfred collected the little girl from the Miller sisters, on those evenings following the days her fine stitching was solicited, the three women sat down in the kitchen to hum and sigh over cups of Postum at the signs of
a heavy fabric woven from soft tufted cord
While her aunt worried about how to keep the heart ignorant of the hips and the head in charge of both, Dorcas lay on a
chenille bedspread, tickled and happy...
a state of being beyond the limits of material experience
For her the drums were not an all-embracing rope of fellowship, discipline and
transcendence. She remembered them as a beginning, a start of something she looked to complete.
express strong disapproval of
Her stories, however, of the goodness of good behavior collapsed before the thrill of the sin they
keenly distressing to the mind or feelings
But the stories she told them of moral decay, of the wicked who preyed on the good, were made more
poignant by this clutch of arm to breast.
unrestrained by convention or morality
She told them how a very young girl, no more than fourteen, had left family and friends to traipse four hundred miles after a boy who joined the army only to be left behind and turn to a completely
dissolute life in a camptown.
any carefree episode
But both girls have expectations made higher by the trouble they’d had planning outfits for the
an expert manner of speaking involving control of voice
Dorcas recognizes her partner as Martin, who had been in her
elocution class for a hot minute—which was as long as it took for the teacher to realize he would never relinquish “ax” for “ask.”
turn away from; give up
Dorcas recognizes her partner as Martin, who had been in her elocution class for a hot minute—which was as long as it took for the teacher to realize he would never
relinquish “ax” for “ask.”
a large entrance or reception room or area
It is after two more dances that she notices the brothers commanding the attention of a crowd in the dining room. On the street, in
vestibules as well as house parties, they are spectacular, moving like taut silk or loose metal.
a final climactic stage
The unbelievable agility, the split-second timing the brothers are putting on display announces the
culmination of the fast-dancing segment of the party.
a flat mass of ice drifting at sea
The stomach-jump of possible love is nothing compared to the ice
floes that block up her veins now.
censure severely or angrily
They laughed, tapped the tablecloth with their fingertips and began to tease,
berate and adore him all at once.
reflect deeply on a subject
But the women touched his hair and looked right at him,
musing over his two-color eyes and ordered him: “Come on over here, man, and sit yourself down. Fix you a plate? Let me fix you a plate.”
exemption from punishment or loss
In a group such as this one, they could do with
impunity what they were cautious about alone with any man, stranger or friend, who rang the doorbell with a sample case in his hand, no matter how tall he was, how country his smile or however much sadness was in his eyes.
commodities offered for sale
Joe Trace counted on flirty laughing women to buy his
wares, and he knew better than to take up with any of them.
quieted and brought under control
Read carefully the news accounts revealed that most of these women,
subdued and broken, had not been defenseless.
devoid of any qualifications or disguise or adornment
Later, and little by little, feelings, like sea trash expelled on a beach—strange and recognizable,
stark and murky—returned.
cloudy, dirty, and difficult to see through
Later, and little by little, feelings, like sea trash expelled on a beach—strange and recognizable, stark and
a person without moral scruples
reprobates, they live in my building, you know...”
prevent the progress or accomplishment of
Dust cloths, monthly cloths, rags tied around pipe joints to
hinder freezing; pot holders and pieces to test hot irons and wrap their handles.
The thing was how Alice felt and talked in her company. Not like she did with other people. With Violet she was impolite. Sudden.
Frugal. No apology or courtesy seemed required or necessary between them.
one whose business is the management of funerals
The suit, the tie, the shirt he liked best. They suggested she not waste the shoes. No one would see them. But socks? Surely he has to have socks? Of course, said the
a performance of a musical composition or a dramatic role
And when “Wings Over Jordan” came on he probably turned the volume down so he could hear her when she sang along with the choir, instead of up so as to drown out her
rendition of “Lay my body down.”
boldly resisting authority or an opposing force
For who could keep him down, this
defiant birthday-every-day man who dispensed gifts and stories that kept them so rapt they forgot for the while a bone-clean cupboard and exhausted soil; or believed a child’s leg would straighten itself out by and by.
feeling great delight and interest
For who could keep him down, this defiant birthday-every-day man who dispensed gifts and stories that kept them so
rapt they forgot for the while a bone-clean cupboard and exhausted soil; or believed a child’s leg would straighten itself out by and by.
the property of copious abundance
In the midst of the joyful resurrection of this phantom father, taking pleasure in the distribution of his
bounty both genuine and fake, Violet never forgot Rose Dear or the place she had thrown herself into—a place so narrow, so dark it was pure, breathing relief to see her stretched in a wooden box.
attracting and holding interest
Pouring mustard tea on the girls’ cuts and bruises, and keeping them at their tasks with
spellbinding tales of her Baltimore days and the child she had cared for there.
a small overnight bag for short trips
When they arrived, carrying all of their belongings in one
valise, they both knew right away that perfect was not the word.
lose or lose the right to by some error, offense, or crime
The customer flinched and the skin discolored right away. Violet moaned her apologies and the woman was satisfied until she discovered that the whole curl was singed clean off. Skin healed, but an empty spot in her hairline...Violet had to
forgo payment to shut her up.
the state of being under the control of another person
She was limp in its
thrall or rigid in an effort to dismiss it.
gradually deprive of mother's milk
weaning time, Violet would blow her breath on the babygirl’s food, cooling it down for the tender mouth.
aroused to impatience or anger
nettled; Violet indifferent. Then silence while Violet drank tea and listened to the hissing iron.