"In the Time of the Butterflies," Vocabulary from the Epilogue

Julia Alvarez's "In the Time of the Butterflies" follows the four brave Mirabal sisters as they seek to overthrow the corrupt Trujillo government in the Dominican Republic.

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

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. precede
    move ahead in time or space
    It seems they left town after four-thirty, since the truck that preceded them up the mountain clocked out of the local Public Works building at four thirty-five.
  2. excessive
    unrestrained, especially with regard to feelings
    Their sentimentality was excessive, but I listened, and thanked them for coming.
  3. telegram
    a message transmitted by telegraph
    There was a telegram that had been delivered first thing that morning.
  4. convalesce
    get over an illness or shock
    I rearranged the house where I was going to put each one while they were convalescing.
  5. morgue
    a building or room where dead bodies are kept before burial
    At first the guards posted outside the morgue did not want to let me in.
  6. sedative
    a drug that reduces excitability and calms a person
    I remember Jaimito trying to hush me, one of the doctors coming in with a sedative and a glass of water.
  7. memorial
    a recognition of meritorious service
    Manolo’s voice sounds blurry on the memorial tape the radio station sent me, in memory of our great hero.
  8. amnesty
    a warrant granting release from punishment for an offense
    After forty days of bombing, they accepted the broadcast amnesty.
  9. coroner
    an official who investigates death not due to natural causes
    I can count them up like the list the coroner gave us, taped to the box of things that had been found on their persons or retrieved from the wreck.
  10. engross
    consume all of one's attention or time
    She is less ready to talk about the second wife, the new, engrossing family, stepbrothers and sisters the age of her own little one.
  11. insignia
    a badge worn to show official position
    Seven rings, three plain gold bands, one gold with a small diamond stone, one gold with an opal and four pearls, one man’s ring with garnet and eagle insignia, one silver initial ring.
  12. convent
    a religious residence especially for nuns
    She wanted them locked up like nuns in a convent, she was always so afraid.
  13. exasperated
    greatly annoyed; out of patience
    Her voice has that exasperated edge our children get when we dare wander from their lives.
  14. atrium
    the central area in a building, open to the sky
    Then we’ll go to the museum where Minou can get some cuttings from Tono for the atrium in her apartment.
  15. brink
    the limit beyond which something happens or changes
    Sometimes, I lie at the very brink of forgetfulness, waiting, as if their arrival is my signal that I can fall asleep.

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