"Mockingbird," Vocabulary from Chapters 14-26

Kathryn Erskine's "Mockingbird" addresses with sensitivity two important issues that many modern families are all too familiar with: Asperger's Syndrome and school shootings.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Chapters 1-13, Chapters 14-26, Chapters 27-39

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. interpersonal
    occurring among or involving several people
    These are all interpersonal skills that help you deal with people.
  2. appreciate
    recognize with gratitude; be grateful for
    I’m not sure girls your age would really appreciate that.
  3. counselor
    someone who gives advice about problems
    Do you know how much it costs to see a counselor?
  4. empathy
    understanding and entering into another's feelings
    I remember what Mrs. Brook said about practicing empathy and I go into the living room and look at Dad’s shoes.
    In Greek, "en" means "in" and "pathos" means "emotion" so Caitlin is trying to enter into her dad's emotions by looking at his shoes, as if she were going to literally walk in his shoes. If she were practicing sympathy, she would share with her dad emotions that they have in common.
  5. attitude
    a complex mental state involving beliefs and feelings
    That’s more of an attitude than an emotion.
    The definition for "attitude" sounds more complex than "emotion" ("any strong feeling"), but labeling something an attitude rather than an emotion gives more power to the person to change.
  6. finesse
    subtly skillful handling of a situation
    But you did it! All we’re doing now is working on refinement. You just have to keep trying. It’s all about finesse.
  7. hinge
    a joint that holds two parts together so that one can swing
    I run into Lowe’s and race up and down the aisles and Dad is chasing me saying, Caitlin Caitlin! Excuse me ma’am! Sorry! Caitlin! Excuse me! until I find the place with the hinges and I’m panting with excitement and I shake my hands for Dad to hurry up and he’s panting too and says, CAIT-LIN! but I say, Which ones? as I rattle the different-sized boxes of hinges.
    The hinges have both literal and symbolic meanings here. Not only are the characters actually looking to buy metal joints, but they are also joining more closely together as father and daughter in the search for parts for their project.
  8. carnivorous
    feeding on animals
    The third one felt like carnivorous dinosaur skin and I would be eaten alive.
  9. crumple
    fold or collapse
    He crumpled on the floor holding his finger tight and his face went red and I realized for the first time that Devon feels pain.
  10. flinch
    draw back, as with fear or pain
    I feel a cold hand on my arm and I flinch.
  11. self-conscious
    excessively aware of your appearance or behavior
    They say that Rachel will be self-conscious and embarrassed and it’s all my fault.
  12. terrarium
    transparent container in which plants and animals are kept
    I pull her desk out of the row and push it all the way to the back corner of the room and shove it up against the wall where the terrarium was until the turtle died.
    In Latin, "vivere" means "to live"--a vivarium is a place for keeping and observing living things: "terra" means "earth" so a terrarium holds living things that are close to the earth, such as plants and small animals such as turtles and lizards; "aqua" means "water" so an aquarium holds living things that need water, which could include plants but are usually fish and other creatures that swim.
  13. stern
    of a strict bearing or demeanor; forbidding in aspect
    Emma says how mean I’m being and Mrs. Johnson gives me her pinched lip stern look and says, What’s this all about?
  14. clammy
    unpleasantly cool and humid
    My feet feel cold and clammy because my socks are sweaty.
  15. afford
    have the financial means to do something or buy something
    If I could afford to pay for a private school for you I would.
    Compare with "expensive" in this list. Though they are not exact antonyms, they are often used in opposite ways, since most people cannot afford to buy or do things that are expensive.
  16. auction
    the public sale of something to the highest bidder
    I think there’s a silent auction and a raffle and I’m not sure what else.
    The Latin "augere" means "to increase" while the Middle English "rafle" means "a game using dice"--the roots show the difference between these two methods of fundraising, since participants in a silent auction can keep increasing the cost of a specific prize, while participants in a raffle can buy as many tickets as they want for a specific prize but each ticket costs the same amount and has the same chance as others of being drawn.
  17. dissolve
    pass into a solution
    Also snow can be pink if red dirt dissolves in water that evaporates and—Dad squeezes my shoulder. This means the conversation is over.
    Dissolving and evaporation are similar processes that change matter into other forms: in Latin, "dis" means "apart" and "solvere" means "to release" so a solid object (such as red dirt) passes into a solution when its parts are broken up and released into liquid form; "ex" means "out" and "vapor" means "steam" so a liquid object (such as water) that evaporates changes into steam and seemingly disappears.
  18. easel
    an upright tripod for displaying something
    We follow Coffee Breath Woman to an easel with a light on it and I stare at it.
  19. observant
    quick to notice; showing quick and keen perception
    I think you're observant though and that’s the first step.
  20. passion
    something that is desired intensely
    We all have different passions. His passion was being an Eagle Scout.
  21. exist
    have a presence
    I get a recess feeling in my stomach and try not to think about the Eagle Scout project that never got to exist.
    In Latin, "ex" means "out" and "sistere" means "to stand"--this gives a stronger meaning to the example sentence, since the Eagle Scout project, if it had been brought to life by Devon, would have stood out.
  22. slump
    assume a drooping posture or carriage
    Dad’s shoulders slump and his head falls.
  23. eventually
    after an unspecified period of time or a long delay
    Sometimes things don’t work the first time but then eventually they do.
  24. confident
    persuaded of; very sure
    I guess he doesn’t believe I will Get It and sometimes I’m not so sure either but Mrs. Brook is confident so I’m going to keep working on my finesse.
  25. expensive
    high in price or charging high prices
    The wood is expensive and it’s difficult to work with.
    In Latin, "ex" means "out" and "pendere" means "to pay"--the example sentence gives two reasons why the wood would not be an affordable thing for Caitlin and her dad to buy. But as expensive as the wood might be, they can't afford not to buy it, because they need to build a new chest in order to rebuild their lives.

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