Barbara Kingsolver's "The Bean Trees" Chapter 1

Vocabulary study list for Barbara Kingsolver's "The Bean Trees" (Chapter 1).
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Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. candy striper
    a volunteer worker in a hospital
    Surely you'd think he would have picked one of the Candy Stripers, town girls with money for the pink-and-white uniforms and prissing around the bedpans on Saturdays like it was the holiest substance on God's green earth they'd been trusted to carr
  2. drop by the wayside
    give up in the face of defeat of lacking hope; admit defeat
    Believe me in those days the girls were dropping by the wayside like seeds off a poppyseed bun and you learned to look at every day as a prize.
  3. overfill
    fill beyond capacity
    They said he overfilled the tire.
  4. softball game
    a game closely resembling baseball that is played on a smaller diamond and with a ball that is larger and softer
    Mama was not one of these that wore tight jeans to their kids' softball games.
  5. bedpan
    a shallow vessel used by a bedridden patient for defecation and urination
    Surely you'd think he would have picked one of the Candy Stripers, town girls with money for the pink-and-white uniforms and prissing around the bedpans on Saturdays like it was the holiest substance on God's green earth they'd been trusted to carr
  6. bring home the bacon
    supply means of subsistence; earn a living
    "That's my big girl bringing home the bacon," she would say, and cook those things and serve them up like Thanksgiving for the two of us.
  7. flowerbed
    a bed in which flowers are growing
    She went to the edge of the porch and shook a handful of pea hulls out of her apron onto the flowerbed.
  8. enrapture
    hold spellbound
    You could have painted a barn with all the lipstick that went into "H. W. enraptured forever" and things of that kind.
  9. head nurse
    the person in charge of nursing in a medical institution
    Mr. Walter had a wife, Lynda, whose existence was ignored by at least the female portion of the high school but who was nevertheless alive and well, and was in fact one of the head nurses.
  10. hand-me-down
    outgrown garment passed down from one person to another
    He made our country boys look like the hand-me-down socks Mama brought home, all full of their darns and mends.
  11. armhole
    a hole to which a sleeve can be attached
    Mama in her armhole apron in the caned porch chair and me on the stepstool, the two of us shelling out peas into a newspaper.
  12. science teacher
    someone who teaches science
    By senior year there were maybe two boys to every one of us, and we believed it was our special reward when we got this particular science teacher by the name of Mr. Hughes Walter.
  13. moony
    lighted by moonlight
    Not that I was moony over him, at least no more than the standard of the day, which was plain to see from the walls of the girls' bathroom.
  14. piece of cake
    any undertaking that is easy to do
    At school it was a piece of cake to pick me out of a lineup of town girls in their beige or pink Bobbie Brooks matching sweater-and-skirt outfits.
  15. sweet-faced
    having a pleasing face or one showing a sweet disposition
    He was named after Stephen Foster, the sweet-faced man in the seventh-grade history book who wrote "My Old Kentucky Home," but twenty-two years after naming him that, Foster Greer's mother supposedly died of a broken heart.
  16. earthworm
    terrestrial worm that burrows into and helps aerate soil
    Surely you would think he'd pick Earl Wickentot, who could dissect an earthworm without fear.
  17. back porch
    a porch for the back door
    That is what I told Mama on the back porch.
  18. adulthood
    the period of time in life after physical growth has stopped
    This must not have been entirely true, since they were abundant in Pittman County and many survived to adulthood.
  19. softball
    a game closely resembling baseball that is played on a smaller diamond and with a ball that is larger and softer
    Mama was not one of these that wore tight jeans to their kids' softball games.
  20. dark-brown
    of a color similar to that of wood or earth
    And sometimes you'd see the big ones, the ones nobody was ever going to hook, slipping away under the water like dark-brown dreams.
  21. unfamiliar with
    having little or no knowledge of
    This is not to say that I was unfamiliar with the back seat of a Chevrolet.
  22. get stuck
    be unable to move further
    He got stuck up there.
  23. scoop up
    take out or up with or as if with a scoop
    Mama settled back into the cane chair and scooped up another apronful of peas.
  24. congregate
    come together, usually for a purpose
    About nineteen people congregated during the time it took for Norman Strick to walk up to the Courthouse and blow the whistle for the volunteer fire department.
  25. marigold
    any of various tropical American plants of the genus Tagetes widely cultivated for their showy yellow or orange flowers
    It was marigolds and Hot Tamale cosmos.
  26. enraptured
    feeling great rapture or delight
    You could have painted a barn with all the lipstick that went into "H. W. enraptured forever" and things of that kind.
  27. broken heart
    devastating sorrow and despair
    He was named after Stephen Foster, the sweet-faced man in the seventh-grade history book who wrote "My Old Kentucky Home," but twenty-two years after naming him that, Foster Greer's mother supposedly died of a broken heart.
  28. cosmos
    everything that exists anywhere
    It was marigolds and Hot Tamale cosmos.
  29. courthouse
    a building that houses judicial courts
    About nineteen people congregated during the time it took for Norman Strick to walk up to the Courthouse and blow the whistle for the volunteer fire department.
  30. shank
    the part of the human leg between the knee and the ankle
    It was Jolene Shanks and everybody was a little surprised at her, or anyway pretended to be, but not at him.
  31. pod
    the vessel that contains the seeds of a plant
    Her right hand twisted over and back as she snapped a little curl of string off the end of each pod and rolled out the peas with her thumb.
  32. dissect
    cut open or cut apart
    Surely you would think he'd pick Earl Wickentot, who could dissect an earthworm without fear.
  33. flick
    throw or toss with a quick motion
    Newt Hardbine was not my friend, he was just one of the big boys who had failed every grade at least once and so was practically going on twenty in the sixth grade, sitting in the back and flicking little wads of chewed paper into my hair.
  34. funnel
    a conically shaped utensil with a narrow tube at one end
    He was famous for drinking Old Grand Dad with a gasoline funnel, and always told Mama never to pull anything cute like getting pregnant.
  35. ignore
    refuse to acknowledge
    Mr. Walter had a wife, Lynda, whose existence was ignored by at least the female portion of the high school but who was nevertheless alive and well, and was in fact one of the head nurses.
  36. overall
    including everything
    But the day I saw his daddy up there like some old overalls slung over a fence, I had this feeling about what Newt's whole life was going to amount to, and I felt sorry for him.
  37. presume
    take to be the case or to be true
    He was from out of state, from some city college up north, which was why, everyone presumed, his name was backwards.

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