"The Perks of Being a Wallflower," Vocabulary from Part 3

Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" chronicles a very eventful freshman year of high school.

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

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. encourage
    inspire with confidence
    And my mom said a lot of encouraging things about how I was doing so well this school year and maybe the doctor would help me sort things out.
  2. administer
    give or apply, as a medication
    Love pats are soft punches of encouragement that are administered on the knee, shoulder, and arm.
    Love pats can be literally administered to help heal the soul, but they are not actually medicines that can be administered with a needle or a pill.
  3. schizophrenia
    a psychotic disorder characterized by distortions of reality
    They said that essentially the drug is twelve hours of schizophrenia, and if you already have a lot of this brain transmitter, you don’t get out of it.
  4. mercilessly
    without pity
    And it didn’t help that this was the day after I noticed that all the kids were wearing their new Christmas clothes, so I decided to wear my new suit from Patrick to school, and was teased mercilessly for nine straight hours.
  5. prompt
    give an incentive for action
    I told them what was wrong, which prompted Patrick to keep asking me if I had a “bad trip.”
  6. soothing
    affording physical relief
    That’s when she gave me the cigarette. When I lit it, I didn’t cough. It actually felt soothing.
  7. trance
    a psychological state induced by a magical incantation
    From there you go, to you’re going to be okay, to you probably should never do acid again, Sam went on to explain what she called “the trance.”
  8. relieved
    made easier to bear
    I was so relieved. I couldn’t really tell if she was happy or sad, but it was enough just to see her and know that she was there.
  9. context
    the set of facts or circumstances that surround a situation
    Patrick said that the problem was that since everything has happened already, it makes it hard to break new ground. Nobody can be as big as the Beatles because the Beatles already gave it a “ context.”
  10. jaded
    bored or apathetic after experiencing too much of something
    They are both going to an Ivy League homecoming football game, and they have this debate. The older gentleman is established. The kid is “ jaded.”
    "Surfeit" means "the state of being more than full"--someone who is jaded feels a lack of interest and excitement because he has experienced too much of something. According to the debate, "jaded" and "established" would be nearly synonymous, but their tones differ because they apply to people at different stages of their life.
  11. equivalent
    a person or thing equal to another in value or measure
    It was especially fun to think that people all over the world were having similar conversations in their equivalent of the Big Boy.
  12. cynical
    believing the worst of human nature and motives
    I would have told the table that, but they were really having fun being cynical, and I didn’t want to ruin it.
    Compare with "jaded" in this list. They are similar but a "jaded" outlook comes with overuse or overexposure, while a "cynical" disposition is generally negative toward others and is not always based on experience.
  13. pry
    be nosey
    He seemed sad when he said it, too, but I decided not to pry because I thought that would be too personal.
  14. finale
    the concluding part of any performance
    I got to pretend that I was singing, and I got to dance around, and I got to wear a “feather boa” in the grande finale, which I wouldn’t have thought anything of because it’s part of the show, but Patrick couldn’t stop talking about it.
  15. initiation
    a formal entry into an organization or position or office
    I think this is the initiation for new cast members.
  16. bourgeoisie
    the social class between the lower and upper classes
    I learned a lot about “objectification,” Native Americans, and the bourgeoisie.
  17. sociology
    the study and classification of human societies
    The other is for sociology with a minor concentration in women’s studies.
  18. import
    commodities bought from a foreign country
    Then, she took me down to the import section and told me about “real” alternative music.
  19. mantel
    shelf that projects from wall above fireplace
    It had a fireplace with a mantel and golf trophies.
  20. self-esteem
    a feeling of pride in yourself
    My sister said Mary Elizabeth is suffering from low self-esteem, but I told her that she said the same thing about Sam back in November when she started dating Craig, and Sam is completely different.
  21. adroit
    quick or skillful or adept in action or thought
    When I left school that day, I didn’t go home because I just couldn’t talk to her on the phone, and my mother is not a very “ adroit” liar about things like that.
  22. retrospect
    contemplation of things past
    In retrospect, I probably could not have picked a worse time.
  23. unbearable
    incapable of being put up with
    By the time I had knelt down in front of Sam and kissed her, the silence was unbearable.
  24. cocky
    overly self-confident or self-assertive
    Patrick just smiled cocky and said, “Of course.”
    Compare with "smug" in the list for Part 1. Both are adjectives, but here, "cocky" is used as an adverb to describe how Patrick is smiling.
  25. passive
    lacking in energy or will
    And to not have to see a psychiatrist, who explains to me about being “ passive aggressive.”
    The term "passive aggressive" sounds like an oxymoron because it pairs two words that are usually opposite in meaning. A passive aggressive person is essentially aggressive (as seen in the example sentence for "aggressive" in the list for Part 2), but he has learned to show his anger in less physical ways, such as sarcastic jokes, stubbornness, or deliberate failure to complete required tasks.

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