lacking orderly continuity
Harley’s words were becoming
disjointed and he was accenting the words at the beginning and swallowing the ending sounds until it didn’t sound like English any more.
The sensation was sudden and
terrifying; he could not get out of the room, and he was afraid he would fall into the stinking dirty water and have to crawl through it, like before, with jungle clouds raining down filthy water that smelled ripe with death.
showing a brooding ill humor
He couldn’t make out Harley or Leroy or Pinkie; all he could see was Emo’s
a state of dishonor
He never forgot that, and finally, years later, he understood what it was about white men and Indian women: the
disgrace of Indian women who went with them.
any customary observance or practice
The night progressed according to that
ritual: from cursing the barren dry land the white man had left them, to talking about San Diego and the cities where the white women were still waiting for them to come back to give them another taste of what white women never got enough of.
balance among the parts of something
symmetry of the oval pleased him; he raised it high over his head and smashed it against the ground.
concealing yourself and lying in wait to attack by surprise
The teeth sucked up the light, and darkness closed around Tayo with an
ambush of voices in English and Japanese.
hard to pass through because of heavy growth
The silence was
dense; the darkness was cold.
having little elasticity
But the posters were flapping and twisting around, and the
brittle edges of the paper were beginning to split and tear.
not to be placated or appeased or moved by entreaty
There was a chill in the wind during the last days the sun occupied a summer place in the sky—and something
relentless in the way the wind drove the sand and dust ahead of it.
join the military
“Sure, sure,” he said, “you
enlist now and you’ll be eligible for everything—pilot training—everything.”
keep in a certain state, position, or activity
The things Laura had done weren’t easily forgotten by the people, but she could
maintain a distance between Rocky, who was her pride, and this other, unwanted child.
not permanent; not lasting
When Josiah or old Grandma or Robert was there, the agreement was suspended, and she pretended to treat him the same as she treated Rocky, but they both knew it was only
escape, either physically or mentally
Robert and Josiah
evaded her; they were deaf to those undertones.
move downward and lower, but not necessarily all the way
An old sensitivity had
descended in her, surviving thousands of years from the oldest times, when the people shared a single clan name and they told each other who they were; they recounted the actions and words each of their clan had taken, and would take; from before they were born and long after they died, the people shared the same consciousness.
bringing or deserving severe rebuke or censure
Shamed by what they taught her in school about the
deplorable ways of the Indian people; holy missionary white people who wanted only good for the Indians, white people who dedicated their lives to helping the Indians, these people urged her to break away from her home.
state of disgrace or loss of self-respect
For the people, it was that simple, and when they failed, the
humiliation fell on all of them; what happened to the girl did not happen to her alone, it happened to all of them.
bring into consonance or accord
So Auntie had tried desperately to
reconcile the family with the people; the old instinct had always been to gather the feelings and opinions that were scattered through the village, to gather them like willow twigs and tie them into a single prayer bundle that would bring peace to all of them.
make a prediction about; tell in advance
anticipate her mood by watching her face.
declare to be true or accept the reality of
He cried for it and Josiah came to comfort him; he asked Tayo why he was crying, but just as he was ashamed to tell Josiah about the understanding between him and Auntie, he also could not tell him about the picture; he loved Josiah too much to
admit the shame.
sadness associated with some wrong or disappointment
He remembered it from the nights after they had buried his mother, when he stuffed the bed covers around his stomach and close to his heart, hugging the blankets into the empty space of loss,
regret for things which could not be changed.
difficult to analyze or understand
Scientific cattle breeding was very
complicated, he said, and he used to wait until Rocky and Tayo were doing their homework on the kitchen table, and then he would come in from the back room, with his glasses on, carrying a book.
observe, check out, and look over carefully or inspect
Auntie got out her black church shoes and wiped them carefully with a clean damp cloth, putting her finger inside the cloth and cleaning around each of the eyelets where the laces were strung; she
examined them closely by the lamp on the table to make sure that any dust or spots of dirt left from last Sunday had been removed.
Later on, Tayo wondered if she liked it that way, going to church by herself, where she could show the people that she was a
devout Christian and not immoral or pagan like the rest of the family.
capable of being reached
It had the clarity of the sky after a summer rainstorm, when the dust was washed away, and the colors of the hills and the shadows of the mesas had an intensity which made everything he saw
accessible, as if he could touch all of it, even the little green rabbit weed growing close to the sand, its tiny leaves clustered like stars.
assert to be true
But Robert had to admit that the calves were stocky through the shoulder and hip, showing at least some trace of the fine registered Hereford bull that Ulibarri had
insisted and sworn was their sire.
resist or confront with resistance
But Josiah said they would grow up heavy and covered with meat like Herefords, but tough too, like the Mexican cows, able to
withstand hard winters and many dry years.
stretch out over a distance, space, time, or scope
The cows already had big Mexican brands on their sides,
extending across their ribs, a brand so big you could see it for a half mile, Josiah said.
If she had not been so young, she would have realized that he was nothing, that the power she was feeling had always been inside her, growing, pushing to the surface, only its season
coinciding with her new lover.
lacking capacity or ability
He would lie beside her under the blanket and his eyes would be fevered even after he was limp and
incapable of taking any more from her.
like better; value more highly
“You came breathlessly,” she answered in a steady voice, “but you will always
prefer the lie."
make lighter or brighter
The ecstasy he found in her had
illuminated the dead tissues and outlined the hollow of his spirit.
not secure; beset with difficulties
The creaking of the wood became a moan and a cry; my balance was
precarious as if the floor were no longer level.
cause somebody to adopt a certain position or belief
They had a good man working for them then, an Apache guy from White River, and he was probably the best sheepherder they ever had; but whenever she wanted to
persuade Josiah to go check up on things, she would go into a long history of what the Apaches had done to the Pueblo people, dwelling especially on Geronimo.
casually thoughtless or inconsiderate
He took good care of the sheep in an
offhand way, carrying the book around with him while he herded them; and when the old black mother dog had had pups, he had trained the best two for sheep dogs.
impossible to hear; imperceptible by the ear
After he was gone, Auntie made an
inaudible remark from the stove, where she kept her dishpan to keep the dishwater hot.
having the nature of threatening evil
She alone had known how to outsmart the
malicious mountain Ka’t’sina who imprisoned the rain clouds in the northwest room of his magical house.
a small concavity
When the shadows were gone, and the cliff rock began to get warm, the frogs came out from their sleeping places in small cracks and
niches in the cliff above the pool.
a stream or brook
In dried up ponds and in the dry
arroyo sands, even as the rain was still falling, they came popping up through the ground, with wet sand still on their backs.
impossible or difficult to sense
It was a world alive, always changing and moving; and if you knew where to look, you could see it, sometimes almost
imperceptible, like the motion of the stars across the sky.