Chapters 37–48

Inspired by her father's fantastical stories, Minli sets off on a journey to change her family's fortune.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. merriment
    a joyful feeling
    Their merriment and the brilliant red color of their clothes and of Dragon himself seemed to warm the cold landscape.
    Compare to "contentment" in this list--both connect to happiness, but "merriment" is more momentary and dependent on "activities that are enjoyable or amusing" while "contentment" is more lasting and dependent on one's ability to control one's attitude towards life (which can be taught).
  2. foundation
    lowest support of a structure
    Minli could not see the tip or the bottom of it, as it seemed to grow out of a gorge so deep that the base must have been at the foundation of the earth.
    "Foundation" and "base" are synonymous nouns here, but "base" refers to the bottom of the mountain, while "foundation" refers to the bottom of the earth, and the use of both words emphasizes how never-ending the mountain seems to Minli.
  3. celestial
    relating to or inhabiting a divine heaven
    He carried it into the clouds, rolled it in fresh raindrops, and bathed it in the Celestial River.
  4. luminous
    softly bright or radiant
    The shabby walls and worn stones seemed to shimmer as if a translucent silk veil covered them, muting any flaws and transforming the house into a dwelling of luminous light and delicate shadows.
    Compare to "lustrous" in this list--although the adverb "softly" makes "luminous" seem dimmer than "lustrous" (defined with the brighter "brilliant"), the strength of the light described in both example sentences seems to be equal, especially since both are connected to the adjective "translucent" ("allowing light to pass through diffusely").
  5. frantic
    excessively agitated; distraught with violent emotion
    When the dragon woke up and found his pearl missing, he began a frantic search.
  6. evade
    avoid or try to avoid fulfilling, answering, or performing
    "It is mine!" the dragon said, and looking at the flush of her cheeks and evading eyes, demanded, "You stole it, didn't you?"
  7. envy
    spite and resentment at seeing the success of another
    She spoke without the desire or envy she used to feel when speaking of the wealth of others.
  8. downcast
    filled with melancholy and despondency
    Minli looked at Dragon’s downcast eyes and read the years of sadness and frustration in his face.
  9. silhouette
    an outline of a solid object as cast by its shadow
    To one side of her in the distance, standing out against the flat landscape, Minli saw the silhouette of a man cutting down a lone tree, his axe making a thumping rhythm.
  10. flourish
    grow vigorously
    So when his crops thrived and flourished, he decided farming was not satisfying enough for him and the day he reaped his successful harvest, he told his friends that he was leaving the countryside to move to town.
    "Flourish" is synonymous with "thrive" so using both verbs seems unnecessary, but both also mean "make steady progress" so the crops could thrive first, and then flourish. To give up an activity just when he sees progress, growth, and success emphasizes how discontented Wu Kang was with his life.
  11. misgiving
    uneasiness about the fitness of an action
    So, with misgivings, the Old Man agreed and brought Wu Kang to Never-Ending Mountain.
  12. sacred
    made or declared or believed to be holy
    Hence, the Old Man took out the sacred Book of Fortune and began to teach Wu Kang how to read its text.
  13. contentment
    happiness with one's situation in life
    "The only things for me to teach you," the Old Man said to Wu Kang as he handed him an axe, "are the lessons of contentment and patience."
  14. begrudge
    allow unwillingly or reluctantly
    The woman begrudged the barren mountain and the meager land and swallowed her plain rice with bitterness.
  15. bland
    lacking taste or flavor or tang
    The rice that filled their bowls began to taste bland, the clothes she had liked for their colors now felt rough, and the house that she had run freely around in had become stifling.
    The structure of the sentence emphasizes that the current experiences are opposite of the previous ones--the antonym of "bland" would be the usual "savory" flavor of the rice; the antonym of "colorful" is not usually "rough" but it is here because the two words produce opposite feelings in the wearer; and the antonym of "free" can be "stifle" ("smother or suppress").
  16. unyielding
    resistant to physical force or pressure
    A stinging wind blew in a silver mist and the cold rock was hard and unyielding.
  17. lustrous
    To Minli’s great surprise, the grayness of the stone began to smudge away and a translucent, lustrous glow seemed to shine through.
  18. splendor
    a quality that outshines the usual
    A green lushness seemed to bloom from the rock—a jewel-colored splendor softened the sharp edges that had painfully sliced the sky.
  19. frolic
    play boisterously
    Red and orange, a dragon and his mate frolicking amongst the clouds...wait, dragons?
  20. prosperous
    in fortunate circumstances financially
    “I am glad to see you and your wife so happy and prosperous,” he said.
Created on November 8, 2013 (updated April 25, 2019)

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