seek information from
We were far too old to settle an argument with a fist-fight, so we
spotlessly clean and fresh
Atticus's office in the courthouse contained little more than a hat rack, a spittoon, a checkerboard and an
unsullied Code of Alabama.
Jem and I found our father
satisfactory: he played with us, read to us, and treated us with courteous detachment.
characteristic of an absolute ruler or absolute rule
She had been with us ever since Jem was born, and I had felt her
tyrannical presence as long as I could remember.
failure to be present
Our mother died when I was two, so I never felt her
an enlightening or astonishing disclosure
Dill had seen Dracula, a
revelation that moved Jem to eye him with the beginning of respect.
be willing to yield
It was all right to shut him up, Mr. Radley
conceded, but insisted that Boo not be charged with anything: he was not a criminal.
put into service
Nobody knew what form of intimidation Mr. Radley
employed to keep Boo out of sight, but Jem figured that Mr. Radley kept him chained to the bed most of the time.
refuse to accept
In all his life, Jem had never
declined a dare.
a sudden short attack
Jem threw open the gate and sped to the side of the house, slapped it with his palm and ran back past us, not waiting to see if his
foray was successful.
We saw him off on the five o'clock bus and I was
miserable without him until it occurred to me that I would be starting to school in a week.
do something that one considers to be below one's dignity
condescended to take me to school the first day, a job usually done by one's parents, but Atticus had said Jem would be delighted to show me where my room was.
force somebody to do something
Now that I was
compelled to think about it, reading was something that just came to me, as learning to fasten the seat of my union suit without looking around, or achieving two bows from a snarl of shoelaces.
add details, as to an account or idea
expounding upon farm problems when Walter interrupted to ask if there was any molasses in the house.
liable to sudden unpredictable change
She was furious, and when she was furious Calpurnia's grammar became
prove negative; show to be false
"There's some folks who don't eat like us," she whispered fiercely, "but you ain't called on to
contradict 'em at the table when they don't.
strong feelings of embarrassment
I retrieved my plate and finished dinner in the kitchen, thankful, though, that I was spared the
humiliation of facing them again.
diffusing warmth and friendliness
He waited in
amiable silence, and I sought to reinforce my position: "You never went to school and you do all right, so I'll just stay home too.
not divided or shared with others
He said that the Ewells were members of an
exclusive society made up of Ewells.
remove something, as by lifting, pushing, or taking off
I stood on tiptoe, hastily looked around once more, reached into the hole, and
withdrew two pieces of chewing gum minus their outer wrappers.
in complete agreement
Mrs. Dubose lived two doors up the street from us; neighborhood opinion was
unanimous that Mrs. Dubose was the meanest old woman who ever lived.
act between parties with a view to reconciling differences
arbitrated, awarded me first push with an extra time for Dill, and I folded myself inside the tire.
If he wanted to stay inside his own house he had the right to stay inside free from the attentions of
inquisitive children, which was a mild term for the likes of us.
beyond or deviating from the usual or expected
What Mr. Radley did might seem
peculiar to us, but it did not seem
peculiar to him.
in deplorable condition
The back of the Radley house was less inviting than the front: a
ramshackle porch ran the width of the house; there were two doors and two dark windows between the doors.