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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian: List 1

Arnold Spirit, Jr., a young cartoonist who lives on the Spokane Indian reservation, decides to transfer to a school in which he will be the only American Indian student.

This list covers "The Black-Eye-of-the-Month Club"–"Tears of a Clown."

Here are links to our lists for the novel: List 1, List 2, List 3
30 words 13,434 learners

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Full list of words from this list:

  1. cerebral
    of or relating to the brain
    I was actually born with too much cerebral spinal fluid inside my skull. But cerebral spinal fluid is just the doctors’ fancy way of saying brain grease.
  2. seizure
    a sudden attack characterized by spasms or convulsions
    But the thing is, I was having those seizures because I already had brain damage, so I was reopening wounds each time I seized.
  3. susceptible
    yielding readily to or capable of
    I haven’t had a seizure in seven years, but the doctors tell me that I am “ susceptible to seizure activity.”
  4. impediment
    something immaterial that interferes with action or progress
    You wouldn’t think there is anything life threatening about speech impediments, but let me tell you, there is nothing more dangerous than being a kid with a stutter and a lisp.
  5. lisp
    mispronounce "s" and "z" when speaking
    And jeez, you’re still fairly cute when you’re a stuttering and lisping six-, seven-, and eight-year-old, but it’s all over when you turn nine and ten.
  6. reservation
    a district that is set aside for a particular purpose
    So I draw because I feel like it might be my only real chance to escape the reservation.
  7. poverty
    the state of having little or no money and possessions
    Do you know the worst thing about being poor? Oh, maybe you’ve done the math in your head and you figure:
    Poverty = empty refrigerator + empty stomach
  8. outsource
    obtain goods or services from an external supplier
    I was too young to deal blackjack at the casino, there were only about fifteen green grass lawns on the reservation (and none of their owners outsourced the mowing jobs), and the only paper route was owned by a tribal elder named Wally.
  9. tsunami
    a cataclysm resulting from a destructive sea wave
    I was hot mad. Volcano mad. Tsunami mad.
  10. destined
    governed by fate
    And because you’re Indian you start believing you’re destined to be poor. It’s an ugly circle and there’s nothing you can do about it.
  11. perseverance
    persistent determination
    Poverty doesn’t give you strength or teach you lessons about perseverance.
  12. brawl
    quarrel or fight noisily, angrily or disruptively
    The Spokane Tribe holds their annual powwow celebration over the Labor Day weekend. This was the 127th annual one, and there would be singing, war dancing, gambling, storytelling, laughter, fry bread, hamburgers, hot dogs, arts and crafts, and plenty of alcoholic brawling.
  13. hypothermia
    subnormal body temperature
    But I was getting hypothermic, too.
    The Spokane Powwow is wicked hot during the day and freezing cold at night.
  14. persistent
    stubbornly unyielding
    Rowdy isn’t a fast reader, but he’s persistent.
  15. ambidextrous
    equally skillful with each hand
    I’m proud of it.
    I’m good at it.
    I’m ambidextrous.
  16. musty
    stale and unclean smelling
    And yeah, I know it’s weird, but the tribe actually houses all of the teachers in one-bedroom cottages and musty, old trailer houses behind the school.
  17. liberal
    having political views favoring reform and progress
    You can’t teach at our school if you don’t live in the compound. It was like some kind of prison-work farm for our liberal, white, vegetarian do-gooders and conservative, white missionary saviors.
  18. minion
    a servile or fawning dependent
    Some of our teachers make us eat birdseed so we’ll feel closer to the earth, and other teachers hate birds because they are supposedly minions of the Devil.
  19. decrepit
    worn and broken down by hard use
    And let me tell you, that old, old, old, decrepit geometry book hit my heart with the force of a nuclear bomb.
  20. contemplate
    reflect deeply on a subject
    A week into my suspension, I was sitting on our front porch, thinking about stuff, contemplating, when old Mr. P walked up our driveway.
  21. rowdy
    disturbing the public peace; loud and rough
    It’s the only thing that keeps me from smacking you with an ugly stick. When I first started teaching here, that’s what we did to the rowdy ones, you know?
  22. burden
    a serious or difficult concern
    Jeez, it was a lot of pressure to put on a kid. I was carrying the burden of my race, you know?
  23. ambitious
    having a strong desire for success or achievement
    I mean, they’ve always known that I’m weird and ambitious, so maybe they expect me to do the weirdest things possible.
  24. flinch
    draw back, as with fear or pain
    I touched his shoulder again and Rowdy flinched.
  25. pummel
    strike, usually with the fist
    I would have been pummeled. Mutilated. Crucified.
  26. translucent
    allowing light to pass through diffusely
    Those kids weren’t just white. They were translucent. I could see the blue veins running through their skin like rivers.
  27. impending
    close in time; about to occur
    I couldn’t sleep that night because I kept thinking about my impending doom.
  28. rummage
    search haphazardly
    I got out of bed at dark-thirty, and rummaged around the kitchen for anything to eat.
  29. vintage
    old but having enduring appeal or importance; classic
    “That was a cool bike,” he said. “ Vintage.”
  30. dramatic
    sensational in appearance or thrilling in effect
    “I love her more than I’ve ever loved anybody.”
    Yeah, I was quite the dramatic twelve-year-old.
Created on August 15, 2013 (updated June 15, 2022)

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