"The Red Umbrella," Vocabulary from Part 5

"The Red Umbrella" by Christina Diaz Gonzalez takes place a few years after the Communist revolution in Cuba. A fourteen year-old girl, whose parents fear for her life, is sent alone to make a new life for herself in America. Her journey and her growth are at the center of this novel.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. barren
    providing no shelter or sustenance
    I could see him out by the now- barren field, trying to catch the snowflakes.
  2. clasp
    a fastener that is used to hold two things together
    As she fastened the clasp in the back, she whispered, "You’re a very special girl, Lucia Alvarez."
  3. possession
    anything owned
    She said that Frankie and I were her most prized possessions, and knowing that we were safe was the only way she could survive being apart from me on my fifteenth birthday.
  4. influence
    the effect of one thing or person on another
    I’m figuring that my parents threw the letters away because they think you might be a bad influence on me.
  5. garland
    flower arrangement consisting of a circular band of foliage
    The Baxter house sparkled with multicolored lights and evergreen garlands draped with icicles.
  6. prod
    push against gently
    "We can help you, Mrs. Baxter,” I said, prodding Frankie to stand up.
  7. extravagant
    recklessly wasteful
    "We can’t be as extravagant as Santa.”
  8. glisten
    be shiny, as if wet
    Her purple coat glistened with melted snowflakes.
  9. comrade
    a term of address for males engaged in the same movement
    We here in Cuba are your true friends. Your comrades. I hope you come home soon before it’s too late.
    "Comrade" is a popular term used among fellow communists. While the idea of being engaged in the same movement is stressed here, there is also a sense of guilt suggested in the phrase "your true friends" and the alternative definition: "a friend who is frequently in the company of another."
  10. brace
    prepare for something unpleasant or difficult
    I braced myself in case the news was really bad.
  11. cradle
    hold gently and carefully
    "Guess so,” I answered, cradling the receiver between my ear and shoulder.
  12. undergo
    pass through
    In it he had described how happy he was to finally be leaving the hospital after undergoing his third and, hopefully, final surgery, but he also mentioned how it pained him to go back home.
  13. seep
    pass gradually or leak or as if through small openings
    A sadness seeped through his words and made its way straight into my heart.
  14. saunter
    walk leisurely and with no apparent aim
    He sauntered around me like a cat ready to pounce.
  15. migration
    the periodic passage of groups of animals
    The warming temperatures brought new life to Grand Island as everyone geared up for the large bird migration.
    Compare the bird migration with the great movement the exiles needed to accomplish to leave their country and settle in a new one.
  16. studious
    characterized by diligent learning and fondness for reading
    Embarrassed, I sat up straight in the wooden chair and tried to look studious.
  17. scour
    examine minutely
    She normally saw me in the library by myself, scouring the newspapers for stories on what was happening in Cuba.
  18. materialism
    a desire for wealth and possessions
    Have you completely sold yourself to the materialism of the American society?
  19. abandon
    forsake; leave behind
    If you decide to stay where you are, then you are no better than all the other gudanod who’ve abandoned their homeland.
  20. blatant
    without any attempt at concealment; completely obvious
    Not because they were true, but because they were such blatant lies.
  21. motto
    a favorite saying of a sect or political group
    It was like a mother’s unwritten motto.
  22. indefinitely
    to an unknown extent
    "I was told I have seven days to leave the country or I have to stay indefinitely.”
  23. persuade
    cause somebody to adopt a certain position or belief
    First, Mrs. Baxter persuaded her friend Gladys to let Mama and us stay in the guest cottage behind her house.
  24. smother
    envelop completely
    In a moment she had dropped her purse and lifted Frankie off the ground, smothering him with kisses.
  25. frail
    physically weak
    It was Papa, looking older and more frail.

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