thrown into a state of agitated confusion
The poor woman would probably be so
flustered that she’d pass out.
a procession traveling together in single file
caravan of large camouflaged trucks and jeeps came into view.
military uniform worn by personnel when doing menial labor
I half hid behind a coconut palm and watched as truck after truck, filled with men wearing
fatigues, roared past me.
lacking conscious awareness of
My parents were sitting at the kitchen table huddled around a radio,
oblivious to the fact that the sun had set and that most of the house was now dark and full of shadows.
at once (usually modifies an undesirable occurrence)
The voice of someone giving a speech was
exert much effort or energy
strained to hear what they were saying.
I grabbed my pink robe and headed downstairs before Frankie could
devour everything Mama had made.
sounded or spoken in a tone unvarying in pitch
I took the same nasal,
monotone voice of my revolution-loving social-studies teacher.
use of a position of trust for dishonest gain
He has replaced
corruption with a new system of government that has brought much happiness to all the Cuban people.
Despite what I’d seen and how nervous the soldiers made me feel, there was an
intoxicating kind of energy that filled the air, cloaking everything.
a radical supporter of political or social change
We don’t have any anti-
revolutionaries in Puerto Mijares.
The prefix "anti" makes this the opposite meaning. In this specific case, it means against the revolutionary movement. Castro's regime used it for anyone opposed to communism.
not consistent with or using reason
I didn’t want to admit that I was being held hostage by my
The adjective "irrational" emphasizes that "hostage" is being used figuratively here, since the mother is not really holding her daughter prisoner in order to negotiate with someone else. Although this domestic situation is an exaggeration, it gives a hint to the political atmosphere of Cuba.
someone who betrays his country by committing treason
I’d heard stories on TV of
traitors being executed, but those people were trying to harm us.
low table with a mirror where one sits while dressing
She reached over and put the silver-handled brush back on my
accompany as a supervisor of young people
"In a few months, you’ll have your quinceanera and a year after that I’ll be
chaperoning you on dates.”
show, express, or direct through movement
gestured toward us.
holding by the police
It came from Havana; they’ve taken Betafil into
the comfort you feel when soothed in times of disappointment
consolation was knowing that someday I’d be free of all their stupid rules and worries.
changing something from private to state control
Maybe I could use the fact that Cuba’s labor union was supporting the
nationalization of all the private schools to convince Papa that going to the meetings was okay.
commercial preparation used to stiffen fabrics in laundering
Mama took out a
starched linen tablecloth and snapped it open over the kitchen table.
an outline of a solid object as cast by its shadow
As I stood by the large picture window in the front of the house, I caught a glimpse of Papa's
depending on assessing a person or situation or event
I couldn’t believe how
judgmental Papa was being.
high-flown style; excessive use of verbal ornamentation
"Everyone is in love with all the fancy
assign to a category or kind
"That it would be a shame if, because of a silly misunderstanding, I were
classified as an anti-revolutionary and sent to prison like Betafil.”
motivation based on ideas of right and wrong
A year ago, he was nothing more than a lazy salesman in a shoe store, and today he wants to dictate my code of