"The Yellow Wallpaper" Vocabulary

A disturbing tale of mental instability which also unnerves the reader, "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short story about a woman diagnosed with "hysteria" and confined to a yellow bedroom by her husband (etext found here).

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. secure
    get by special effort
    It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer.
  2. hereditary
    inherited or inheritable by established rules of descent
    A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity--but that would be asking too much of fate!
  3. felicity
    state of well-being characterized by contentment
    A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity--but that would be asking too much of fate!
  4. scoff
    treat with contemptuous disregard
    He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures.
  5. tonic
    a medicine that strengthens and invigorates
    So I take phosphates or phosphites--whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to "work" until I am well again.
  6. congenial
    suitable to your needs
    Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good.
  7. sly
    marked by skill in deception
    I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal--having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition.
  8. fancy
    imagine; conceive of; see in one's mind
    I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus--but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad.
  9. hedge
    a fence formed by a row of closely planted shrubs or bushes
    It makes me think of English places that you read about, for there are hedges and walls and gates that lock, and lots of separate little houses for the gardeners and people.
  10. prescription
    the action of issuing authoritative rules or directions
    I have a schedule prescription for each hour in the day; he takes all care from me, and so I feel basely ungrateful not to value it more.
  11. absorb
    suck or take up or in
    "Your exercise depends on your strength, my dear," said he, "and your food somewhat on your appetite; but air you can absorb all the time.
  12. flamboyant
    tending to attract attention; marked by ostentatious display
    One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin.
  13. lurid
    shining with an unnatural red glow
    It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others.
  14. atrocious
    exceptionally bad or displeasing
    I am sitting by the window now, up in this atrocious nursery, and there is nothing to hinder my writing as much as I please, save lack of strength.
  15. whim
    an odd or fanciful or capricious idea
    It is an airy and comfortable room as any one need wish, and, of course, I would not be so silly as to make him uncomfortable just for a whim.
  16. riotous
    produced or growing in extreme abundance
    Out of one window I can see the garden, those mysterious deepshaded arbors, the riotous old-fashioned flowers, and bushes and gnarly trees.
  17. recurrent
    happening again and again
    There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.
  18. loll
    hang loosely or laxly
    There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.
  19. impertinence
    the trait of being rude and inclined to take liberties
    I get positively angry with the impertinence of it and the everlastingness.
  20. gouge
    make a groove in
    Then the floor is scratched and gouged and splintered, the plaster itself is dug out here and there, and this great heavy bed which is all we found in the room, looks as if it had been through the wars.
  21. skulk
    lie in wait or behave in a sneaky and secretive manner
    But in the places where it isn't faded and where the sun is just so--I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design.
  22. querulous
    habitually complaining
    I don't feel as if it was worth while to turn my hand over for anything, and I'm getting dreadfully fretful and querulous.
  23. debase
    make impure by adding a foreign or inferior substance
    Looked at in one way each breadth stands alone, the bloated curves and flourishes--a kind of " debased Romanesque" with delirium tremens--go waddling up and down in isolated columns of fatuity.
  24. undulate
    move in a wavy pattern or with a rising and falling motion
    John was asleep and I hated to waken him, so I kept still and watched the moonlight on that undulating wall-paper till I felt creepy.
  25. florid
    elaborately or excessively ornamented
    The outside pattern is a florid arabesque, reminding one of a fungus.
  26. patent
    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
    She tried to get me out of the room--it was too patent!
  27. derision
    contemptuous laughter
    All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths just shriek with derision!
  28. misconstrue
    interpret in the wrong way
    I know well enough that a step like that is improper and might be misconstrued.

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