"Copper Sun" by Sharon M. Draper, Parts 2-5

An unflinching look at the brutality of the American slave trade, Draper's novel tells the story of Amari, a young African girl who is enslaved.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Part 1, Parts 2-5, Parts 6-7, Parts 8-11

Here are links to lists for other books by Sharon M. Draper: Tears of a Tiger, Out of My Mind, Stella by Starlight

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. indenture
    a contract binding one party into the service of another
    Proud of the fact that she could read, Polly looked over her certificate of indenture one more time.
  2. savage
    a member of an uncivilized people
    Living here in the colonies had to be better than living like a savage in the jungle.
  3. inspect
    look over carefully
    Feel free to inspect the merchandise.
  4. waddle
    walk unsteadily
    An unbelievably large white man who smelled of strong wine and an even stronger body odor waddled past Polly and up to the auction area.
  5. repulsive
    offensive to the mind
    Polly grimaced, not because she felt sorry for the girl, but because the man was so repulsive.
  6. gibberish
    unintelligible talking
    Polly wondered if Negroes from Africa had feelings and intelligent thoughts or if that gibberish they spoke was more like the screaming of monkeys or the barking of dogs.
  7. genuinely
    in accordance with truth or fact or reality
    Turning her attention back to the sale, Polly realized that the girl they were dragging off the auction block now was weeping real tears and seemed to be genuinely attached to that older female African whose shackled hand she wouldn’t let go of.
  8. presumably
    by reasonable assumption
    Mr. Derby’s son, presumably the young man with the birthday and the tearful gift in the back of the wagon, arrived then with a smartly dressed black man who struggled under the weight of several bags of supplies.
  9. elegant
    refined and tasteful in appearance, behavior, or style
    Noah, dressed in clothing almost as elegant as a white slave owner’s, bowed, then continued to load the wagon.
  10. smoldering
    showing scarcely suppressed anger
    Polly noticed a brief smoldering anger on the girl’s face, then it dissolved into a look of resigned submission.
  11. civilized
    having a high state of culture and social development
    “Those jungle words have no meaning to civilized humans."
  12. intend
    have in mind as a purpose
    I intend to make myself necessary to the Derby family, while learning how the upper class lives.
  13. aura
    distinctive but intangible quality around a person or thing
    Its red-gabled roof, nestled between two huge stone chimneys, also carried an aura of perfection.
  14. domain
    territory over which rule or control is exercised
    She noticed Mr. Derby looking carefully at his domain, as if checking to make sure everything was as it should be.
  15. object
    express or raise a protest or criticism
    Polly looked at him with a surprised frown on her face and started to object.
  16. tolerate
    put up with something or somebody unpleasant
    I will not tolerate insubordination.
  17. absolute
    perfect or complete or pure
    “Your job is to teach her a little of the King’s English, to teach her how civilized people live and act, and most importantly, to teach her absolute obedience."
  18. scullery
    a small room next to the kitchen
    Because I can take you right back to where I found you—working for common scum like Jeremy Carton as a scullery maid.
  19. admonish
    warn strongly; put on guard
    “You’d better quit talking that jungle talk,” Polly admonished.
  20. assimilate
    become like one's environment
    The next three months were hot, confusing, and miserable as Amari tried to assimilate into the culture of plantation life.
  21. indignant
    angered at something unjust or wrong
    Amari still wasn’t sure of how she felt about Polly, who at first seemed to be indignant that she wasn’t working in the big house.
  22. disdain
    lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
    Amari snorted with disdain at Polly’s resentment.
  23. impressed
    deeply or markedly affected or influenced
    For such a small child, he knew as much about the running of the kitchen as his mother, Amari thought, impressed.
  24. yonder
    in an indicated distant place
    And tea made from the bark of that tree yonder will stop a headache.
  25. compel
    force somebody to do something
    But this day Amari was unusually quiet, having been compelled to spend the previous night with Clay, and he had forced her to do things that made her shiver with shame.
  26. sympathetic
    expressing compassion or friendly fellow feelings
    Teenie’s voice was so sympathetic, Amari pressed her head into Teenie’s chest.
  27. doddering
    mentally or physically infirm with age
    She wanted to explain how right everything felt in a place where she was surrounded by mischievous children, overbearing cousins, and doddering elders who were all a part of her.
  28. diminutive
    very small
    In spite of Teenie's diminutive size, Amari noticed that no one ever questioned her authority in the kitchen, not even the white people who lived in the main house.
  29. accentuate
    stress or single out as important
    Dressed in a long billowing gown that accentuated her pregnancy and a white hooded shawl, she looked almost like a spirit to Amari.
  30. collapse
    break down, literally or metaphorically
    At the end of each day Amari collapsed, exhausted, on the floor mat in their small cabin.
  31. suitable
    worthy of being chosen
    She waited for her opportunity, praying for a moment alone with Mrs. Derby to ask for a more suitable position in her household.
  32. consternation
    sudden shock or dismay that causes confusion
    What is the advantage of being white if I have to work like I’m black every day? she thought with consternation.
  33. sentry
    a person employed to keep watch for some anticipated event
    Noah continued to stand like a sentry at the door, never moving, never displaying any emotion.
  34. deft
    skillful in physical movements; especially of the hands
    She had given Amari a pleasant smile, however, and had thanked her as Amari deftly slipped a white linen napkin onto Mrs. Derby’s lap.
  35. palpable
    capable of being perceived
    Clay’s antagonism toward Mrs. Derby was almost palpable—he glared at her every time she picked up a spoon or wiped her lips with a linen napkin.
  36. intensify
    increase in extent
    All she knew was that every breath made the pain intensify, every movement made her gasp and scream.
  37. hover
    linger or remain near a place
    For three days she hovered between the darkness and the light.
  38. apparent
    clearly revealed to the mind or the senses or judgment
    She knew how much Polly yearned to escape from the kitchen—her desire to move on and her distaste for the work of slaves were very apparent.
  39. inhumane
    reflecting a lack of pity or compassion
    She was sick of tears, of submission, of putting up with inhumane treatment.
  40. expectation
    the feeling that something is about to happen
    She looked at him in fearful expectation.

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