capable of being borne or endured
That’s where we stayed until the end of the war, and those trees stand in my memory for the turning of our life in camp, from the outrageous to the
The adjective can also mean "about average; acceptable." This definition cannot describe sand-filled houses, diarrhea-causing food, overflowing bathrooms, and barbed wire. It is also too mild to be the opposite of "outrageous" which means "grossly offensive to decency or morality." But in the three years at Manzanar, conditions did get better and more tolerable.
One result was a gradual easing of the
congestion in the barracks.
compete for something
Some families would
vie with one another for the most elegant floor designs, obtaining a roll of each color from the supply shed, cutting it into diamonds, squares, or triangles, shining it with heating oil, then leaving their doors open so that passers-by could admire the handiwork.
plant adapted to arid conditions with water-storing tissues
He hauled stones in off the desert and built a small rock garden outside our doorway, with
succulents and a patch of moss.
fit to be lived in
If anything made that country
habitable it was the mountains themselves, purple when the sun dropped and so sharply etched in the morning light the granite dazzled almost more than the bright snow lacing it.
The mountains did not literally make Manzanar a fit place to live. Rather, their beauty was a source of spiritual inspiration and symbolic reminders that helped the internees endure.
quieted and brought under control
Subdued, resigned, Papa’s life—all our lives— took on a pattern that would hold for the duration of the war.
the act of restraining a person's liberty
What had to be endured was the climate, the
confinement, the steady crumbling away of family life.
a state in which all hope is lost or absent
In such a narrowed world, in order to survive, you learn to contain your rage and your
despair, and you try to re-create, as well as you can, your normality, some sense of things continuing.
treat with contempt
He didn’t sing Don’t Fence Me In out of protest, as if trying quietly to
mock the authorities.
wear off or die down
Once we settled into Block 28 that ache I’d felt since soon after we arrived at Manzanar
the outward or apparent appearance or form of something
It didn’t entirely disappear, but it gradually submerged, as
semblances of order returned and our pattern of life assumed its new design.
an act of limiting
restrictions gradually loosened, you could measure your liberty by how far they’d let you go—to Camp Three with a Caucasian, to Camp Three alone, to Camp Four with a Caucasian, to Camp Four alone.
not willing or able to stop or yield
He would putter blandly along, then suddenly, unexpectedly, as if to remind himself he was still in charge of something, he would burst out like that, his intentions right, but his manner stubborn and
relentless, forcing distances between us.
become smaller or lose substance
Our family had begun to
dwindle, along with the entire camp population.
into parts or pieces
Families were being further torn
asunder, and those left behind knew no more about their own fate than they did of the loved ones moving on.
The word can be an adverb or an adjective. Here, it is used as an adverb to emphasize the image that a family is supposed to be a whole unit that can be torn into pieces. The adjective's definition--"widely separated especially in space"--seems like a better fit for a description of loved ones moving away from each other, but it does not grammatically or dramatically fit the example sentence.
weakness characterized by a lack of vitality or energy
In the government’s eyes a free man now, he sat, like those black slaves you hear about who, when they got word of their freedom at the end of the Civil War, just did not know where else to go or what else to do and ended up back on the plantation, rooted there out of habit or
lethargy or fear.
pulled or drawn tight
The introduction shows a page-wide photo of a forearm and hand squeezing pliers around a length of
taut barbed wire strung beneath one of the towers.
break into parts or components or lose cohesion or unity
All around, you saw these signals of neglect, as if the camp itself were slowly, deliberately
disintegrating in order to comply with the administration’s deadline.
take away possessions from someone
deprive us of our homes and our fishing boats and our automobiles and lock us up for three years and then just turn us loose into the cities again.
put out, as of fires, flames, or lights
The last hope that something might postpone our returning to the outside world was
extinguished on August 6 when the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima.
The chosen definition fits because hope is often connected with light. The verb also means "put an end to by crushing or killing" and "kill in large numbers"--these definitions are suggested by the image of the atomic bomb, which simultaneously extinguished lives on Hiroshima and hopes at Manzanar.
the possibility of future success
prospects on the outside, and the energy to go, was leaving, relocating, or entering military service.
the act of making a choice
A few days before we left Manzanar Papa decided that since we had to go, we might as well leave in style, and by our own
acceptance of an unpleasant but inevitable situation
I had heard Mama say with lonesome
resignation, “I don’t understand all this hate in the world.”
offering little or no hope
It was a
bleak and awful-sounding word, yet I had no idea at all what shape it might take if ever I confronted it.
The adjective also means "unpleasantly cold and damp" and "providing no shelter or sustenance." It is used in the example sentence to describe the sound of the word "hate" as well as its shape and nature. All the definitions can fit: 1) so much irrational hate leads to Mama's bleak mood; 2) young Jeanne saw hate as a dark, bleak cloud that she would not want to be wrapped in; and 3) hateful stories, murmurs, and headlines reflected a bleak world for the internees to return to.
having no definite form or distinct shape
I saw it as a dark,
amorphous cloud that would descend from above and enclose us forever.
something that serves to suggest
Indeed, if the movements of this city were an
indication, the very existence of Manzanar and all it had stood for might be in doubt.
occurring between events, spaces, or points in time
And yet, on our six-hour drive south, we seemed to have passed through a time machine, as if, in March of 1942 one had lifted his foot to take a step, had set it down in October of 1945, and was expected just to keep on walking, with all
intervening time erased.
keep in safety and protect from harm, loss, or destruction
maintain some hold on his self-esteem Papa began to pursue his doomed plan for setting up a housing cooperative among the returning Japanese.
a feeling of evil to come
premonitions proved correct, in a way I hadn’t been at all prepared for, on the first day back in public school, when the shape of what I truly had to deal with appeared to me for the first time.
open and observable; not secret or hidden
I wouldn’t be faced with physical attack, or with
overt shows of hatred.
desire strongly or persistently
From that day on, part of me
yearned to be invisible.
acceptance without protest
Of course, for such a thing to happen, there has to be a kind of
acquiescence on the part of the victims, some submerged belief that this treatment is deserved, or at least allowable.
Compare with "resignation" in this list. Because the nouns both connect to acceptance, they can be used as synonyms. But as the definitions and example sentences show, a feeling of resignation is often a deeper, sadder, individual acceptance of a hopeless situation. Acquiescence is often a show of acceptance, and the lack of outward protest can sometimes be due to resignation, but it can also be due to agreement, social pressure or an unfavorable situation.
a sudden desire
From that day forward I lived with this double
impulse: the urge to disappear and the desperate desire to be acceptable.
be larger in number, quantity, power, status or importance
I also learned that outside school another set of rules
state emphatically and authoritatively
I wanted to
declare myself in some different way, and—old enough to be marked by the internment but still too young for the full impact of it to cow me—I wanted in.
declare solemnly and formally as true
At the same time I wondered why my citizenship had to be so loudly affirmed, and I couldn’t imagine why
affirming it would really make any difference.
incapable of being perceived by the senses, especially touch
It also gave me the first sure sign of how certain
intangible barriers might be crossed.
The intangible barriers outside of Manzanar were the racial attitudes that prevented young Jeanne from entering houses or organizations. They contrast with the tangible barriers at Manzanar (barbed wire, guard towers, and searchlights) that prevented the internees from leaving the camp.
exert much effort or energy
While I was
striving to become Miss America of 1947, he was wishing I’d be Miss Hiroshima of 1904.
hinder or prevent, as an effort, plan, or desire
Easy enough as it was to adopt white American values, I still had a Japanese father to frighten my boyfriends and a Japanese face to
thwart my social goals.
a strong drive for success
Surely her example spurred me on to pursue what now seems ludicrous, but at the time was the height of my post-Manzanar
The definition sounds positive, but the word also has a negative connotation that can be traced to its Latin roots. The prefix "ambi" means "around" and an ambitious person had to go around to get votes to gain favor, honor or popularity; thus, ambition was often connected with vain pride. The example sentence suggests this, because young Jeanne's ambition (which she now sees is ridiculous) was to be "admired by everyone, men and women both, myself included."