"Shout" by Laurie Halse Anderson, List 1

In this memoir-in-verse, author Laurie Halse Anderson reflects on the real events behind her acclaimed novel Speak and the aftermath of the book's publication.

Here are links to our lists for the book: List 1, List 2, List 3, List 4

Here are links to our lists for other works by Laurie Halse Anderson: Speak, Speak: The Graphic Novel, Chains, Fever 1793
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definitions & notes only words
  1. maim
    injure or wound seriously and leave permanent disfiguration
    My father, a kid on the verge of destruction,
    half-mad from the violence he’d seen
    desperate to kill, to slaughter, to maim,
    watched that baby slip into the world
  2. chum
    bait consisting of chopped fish
    a shiver of slippery boys
    eleven, twelve years old
    with shark-toothed fingers
    and gap-toothed smiles
    isolate
    the openhearted girls
    eight, nine years old
    tossed in like bloody
    buckets of chum.
  3. loathe
    find repugnant
    Loathed the ants
    swarming across the page, lost
    my excitement about school, fought, reduced
    to a puzzle with missing pieces.
  4. untrammeled
    not confined or limited
    ...all the way downtown
    to a Carnegie library built by an immigrant
    so everyone could read, free
    and untrammeled by politicians seeking
    to bind them into ignorance,
    chain them to the wheel.
  5. haiku
    an epigrammatic Japanese verse form of three short lines
    Mrs. Sheedy-Shea
    taught me haiku, I word-flew
    off the page, amazed
  6. indoctrinate
    teach uncritically
    indoctrinated by magazine covers of skeletal
    white privilege like the Kennedys
    (only peasants ate, apparently)
    my parents, poor-clanned and striving
    rose to the occasion and smothered
    my hunger
  7. clan
    group of people related by blood or marriage
    indoctrinated by magazine covers of skeletal
    white privilege like the Kennedys
    (only peasants ate, apparently)
    my parents, poor- clanned and striving
    rose to the occasion and smothered
    my hunger
  8. preen
    dress or groom with elaborate care
    When we were girls we rode horses
    disguised as bicycles
    though anyone with eyes could see from the way
    we leaned, preened their manes, galloped
    across the plains without ever leaving
    Dorset Avenue, their true equine nature
    we were magic-filled girls at large
    in a world of pedestrian dullness.
  9. equine
    resembling a horse
    When we were girls we rode horses
    disguised as bicycles
    though anyone with eyes could see from the way
    we leaned, preened their manes, galloped
    across the plains without ever leaving
    Dorset Avenue, their true equine nature
    we were magic-filled girls at large
    in a world of pedestrian dullness.
  10. pedestrian
    lacking wit or imagination
    When we were girls we rode horses
    disguised as bicycles
    though anyone with eyes could see from the way
    we leaned, preened their manes, galloped
    across the plains without ever leaving
    Dorset Avenue, their true equine nature
    we were magic-filled girls at large
    in a world of pedestrian dullness.
  11. dervish
    an ascetic Muslim monk
    I used my jump rope for reins and a lasso
    for runaway calves, and the whirling dervish
    of girl games, sky-jumping, earth-touching,
    clap-backing
    shouted with rhymes.
  12. yearling
    a racehorse that is about one year old
    Nervous, too many yearlings in a small corral, we didn’t want to obey, but we had no choice, we sang
    letting go
    opening
  13. resonate
    produce a deep, clear sound
    ninetyish voices, some cracking, some strained under weights unseen, murmurated, a flock of swooping starlings, harmonizing, resonating, shaking the windows in the pain, bending the laws of physics to the pure hearts of children for the length of a song from a Broadway musical
  14. valedictorian
    the student with the best grades
    Mom was happy cuz there were no knife fights
    there, no fights of any kind, unless you count the
    upper-school cutthroat competition
    for valedictorian
  15. modest
    not offensive to sexual mores in conduct or appearance
    I was a cheerleader, can you believe it?
    One-third of the base of a girl pyramid
    pom-pommed in modest, itchy uniforms
  16. sentinel
    a person employed to keep watch for some anticipated event
    sentinel owls peered
    from a grove of old pines,
    all of us hoping, waiting on signs
    of the change
    that was promised
  17. sheer
    complete and without restriction
    I drove in sheer terror
    never crashed
    not even a scratch in the paint
  18. petty
    contemptibly narrow in outlook
    but my dad, he was targeted
    by petty jealousies and for dumb mistakes,
    they called him on the carpet
    and wiped the floor with him
    subtle, ceremonious excommunication
    bell, book, and candlewise
    Dad’s pedestal tipped over
  19. excommunication
    the state of being excluded from a religious community
    but my dad, he was targeted
    by petty jealousies and for dumb mistakes,
    they called him on the carpet
    and wiped the floor with him
    subtle, ceremonious excommunication
    bell, book, and candlewise
    Dad’s pedestal tipped over
  20. carapace
    hard outer covering or case of certain organisms
    the only thing we packed in the moving truck
    were our carapaces pinned
    like specimens to a corkboard
  21. naive
    marked by or showing unaffected simplicity
    Yeah, that was me
    for a couple naive days
    when I was
    thirteen years old.
  22. sinew
    a band of tissue connecting a muscle to its bony attachment
    his hands, arms shoulders back
    muscle sinew bone
    an avalanche of force
  23. ossify
    make rigid and set into a conventional pattern
    We moved
    and moved again, being not-wolves,
    with our legs snapped in the metal
    trap jaws, livers pecked each night
    by eagles,
    my parents broke themselves on the wheels of time and
    appearances, drunk
    on gin and fury, they ossified.
  24. verdigris
    a green patina that forms on copper or brass or bronze
    the pain, verdigris skeleton key
    turned in my brain’s rusty lock
  25. caustic
    capable of destroying or eating away by chemical action
    Wet concrete is wicked alkaline, pH 12.0; that’s caustic enough to eat you alive.
  26. quarry
    a surface excavation for extracting stone or slate
    ...we drove around the rim of an old quarry and something happened cuz suddenly the driver took us straight back to his house and didn’t say anything for the rest of the night.
  27. graft
    tissue or organ transplanted from a donor to a recipient
    I’d close my wounds with fishhooks and twine
    or a stapler or a nail gun
    welding torch to reconnect my spine
    I’d knit skin grafts, if necessary.
  28. vector
    any agent that carries and transmits a disease
    After I pulled myself back together
    I’d need a doctor cuz my dark corners
    would be invaded
    by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more,
    infectious
    vectors of disease, some lethal, some merely
    debilitating, chronic cripplers.
  29. debilitating
    impairing strength and vitality
    After I pulled myself back together
    I’d need a doctor cuz my dark corners
    would be invaded
    by bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more,
    infectious
    vectors of disease, some lethal, some merely
    debilitating, chronic cripplers.
  30. fester
    ripen and generate pus
    The stench of the injury attracts maggots
    which hatch into clouds of doubt and self-loathing
    the dirt you feel inside you nourishes
    anxiety, depression, and shame
    poisoning your blood, festering
    in your brain until you will do anything to stop
    feeling the darkness rising within
  31. grave
    causing fear or anxiety by threatening great harm
    I never thought of killing myself
    not on purpose, though I was in grave danger
    of a stupid accident, riding sorrow’s hamster wheel
  32. gauntlet
    a call to engage in a contest or fight
    gauntlet, thrown

    My high school was designed by an incarceration
    specialist to make the herding, the feeding
    and the slaughter proceed as efficiently as possible
    that’s what we thought,
    anyway
  33. discus
    a circular plate used in throwing competitions
    come spring, I threw shot put and sucked
    at throwing discus, but I began myself again
  34. cartography
    the making of maps and charts
    chronological cartography

    I clawed my way through ninth grade breath by
    breath, second by second.
  35. germination
    the process whereby seeds or spores sprout and begin to grow
    germination

    idea cracked the seed’s shell
    skull’s cell
    burrowed through the muck

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