"Mockingbird," Vocabulary from Chapters 27-39

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. reaction
    a response that reveals a person's feelings or attitude
    She screams. This is not the reaction I expect. She should say something like, I missed you, or, It’s good to see you again.
  2. muffle
    deaden (a sound or noise), especially by wrapping
    What? It comes out as a scream. Her hand covers her mouth. Why? That comes out as a muffled crying moan.
  3. supply
    an amount of something available for use
    I’m going to bring some supplies with us and when we get there we’ll break into groups and I’ll tell you what the project is.
  4. wrench
    twist or pull violently or suddenly
    Before we can add anything to the chest Dad first has to put wood filler where the holes are from when he wrenched out the screws and threw the chest on the floor on The Day Our Life Fell Apart.
  5. section
    one of several parts or pieces that fit with others
    He also has to cut out some sections that he destroyed when he kicked the chest on The Day Our Life Fell Apart.
    Similar to the cutting away of infected tissue in order to allow the surrounding area to heal, Dad has to cut away the destroyed sections of the chest in order to rebuild it. Although it is used as a noun here, "section" can also be a verb (the Latin "secare" means "to cut" and can also be seen in "dissect").
  6. disturbing
    causing distress or worry or anxiety
    Let me warn you that the video we are about to show of the event has some very disturbing content.
  7. manage
    be successful; achieve a goal
    At reading buddies time I manage not to scare my buddy.
  8. mutter
    make complaining remarks or noises under one's breath
    Dad mutters a lot of things but I can’t hear them and I don’t care because at least he’s not yelling.
    Compare with "murmur" in this list--they are both onomatopoeic words that sound like what they describe (which in this case are sounds too low to be accurately described). But "mutter" is used as a verb here to connect to one person, while "murmur" is used as a noun to connect to a noisy crowd.
  9. talent
    natural abilities or qualities
    And I can’t play the piano at all or play soccer. We all have different talents
  10. spectrum
    a broad range of related objects or values or qualities
    We all fall on the spectrum of behavior somewhere.
  11. prism
    a polyhedron with two congruent and parallel faces
    It’s more like a prism than a line.
    Connect this word and example sentence to the previous ones, and the image of a rainbow might appear.
  12. recess
    a pause from doing something (as work)
    Recess I hate because everyone screams and runs around crazy and grabs you and pushes you and you have absolutely no idea what will happen next.
    In school, recess usually involves outdoor play. This should be a time that most children would look forward to, but because Caitlin struggles with autism, she would rather find a recess ("an enclosure that is set back or indented") where she would be out of reach of the screaming bunch of runners, grabbers, and pushers.
  13. inappropriate
    not in keeping with what is correct or proper
    Emma is complaining loudly about Mr. Mason, saying, That was SO inappropriate, even though there’s No Talking In The Hall.
  14. blurt
    utter impulsively
    When we get to Mrs. Brook’s room she’s on the phone but it doesn’t stop Emma from blurting out something so fast I can’t even follow it.
  15. lurch
    move abruptly
    He lurches out of the driveway and I’m thrown off the backseat.
  16. ulcer
    an inflammatory lesion resulting in decay of tissue
    I hear security system and school board and babysitter and nightmares and ulcer and high fiber.
  17. clench
    hold in a tight grasp
    Dad clears his throat and his hands clench and unclench the steering wheel.
  18. swerve
    turn sharply; change direction abruptly
    We swerve on the road a little.
    Compare with "lurch" in this list--both verbs describe abrupt, unsteady movements that, in the example sentences, apply to a car but actually reflect the emotions of the driver.
  19. pry
    move or force in an effort to get something open
    I’m helping him stay up, Josh says as I try to pry his hands off of Michael.
  20. swollen
    having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
    His face is swollen and his voice cracks even though he only has one word to say.
    The definition does not apply to the example sentence, since the adjective is describing the character's face (the swollen face would actually decrease a person's sense of self-importance). Here, "swollen" is the part participle of the verb "swell" in its meaning of "expand abnormally."
  21. sob
    weep convulsively
    Josh is still sobbing. He stretches his hands so his palms cover his eyes and his fingers are covering the top of his head.
  22. detailed
    developed with careful treatment of particulars
    It doesn’t look as... detailed as that eagle you drew that won first prize.
  23. associate
    make a logical or causal connection
    There are a lot of bad memories associated with that name.
  24. fabric
    artifact made by weaving or felting or knitting fibers
    And a big shape that’s partly covered by the same blue fabric except its feet and pedals are sticking out so I know it’s a piano.
  25. ceremony
    a formal event performed on a special occasion
    The Scouts had all their ceremonies here.
  26. dedication
    a ceremony in which something is given to a goal or purpose
    Thank you for coming to this very special dedication ceremony.
  27. murmur
    a low continuous indistinct sound
    There’s a murmuring in the crowd for a moment until it’s quiet again.
  28. donate
    give to a charity or good cause
    This beautiful Mission-style chest was started by Devon for his Eagle Scout project—his voice stops for a moment—and then finished and donated to our middle school by his beloved father.
  29. adore
    love intensely
    And his little sister whom he adored. Caitlin.
  30. podium
    a platform raised above the surrounding level
    Mrs. Brook is at the podium and she talks but I don’t know what she says until I hear her talking to me.

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