A Place to Belong: Chapters 30–41

Like many Japanese-Americans, Hanako and her family are imprisoned in an American internment camp during World War II. After the war ends, they emigrate to Japan — but they struggle to make a home in a country that is unfamiliar to them.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–8, Chapters 9–18, Chapters 19–29, Chapters 30–41
35 words 15 learners

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Full list of words from this list:

  1. revered
    profoundly honored
    She knew he was the one who had made the radio announcement to all of Japan declaring that the nation was surrendering to the Allied forces. And she knew he was revered by the people and even the military.
  2. scoff
    laugh at with contempt and derision
    “So why did you come to Japan if you aren’t loyal to the emperor?” the small girl scoffed.
  3. snippet
    a small piece of anything
    Hanako remembered suddenly that the emperor’s name was Hirohito, but she was sure this little snippet of information wasn’t going to impress these girls.
  4. absolve
    excuse or free from blame
    Hanako felt incredibly relieved. She knew she’d still done a bad thing, but she felt free now. Absolved.
  5. wistfully
    in a pensively sad manner
    She paused and looked wistfully toward the living room.
  6. scuttle
    move about or proceed hurriedly
    In America he used to have a kind of chipmunk-like energy, always scuttling here and there. Here he’d mostly sat still, like the old people in the restaurant used to.
  7. enlightened
    having knowledge and spiritual insight
    Yes, the name of his era is Shōwa, and that means ‘bright, enlightened peace.’
  8. incredulously
    in a disbelieving manner
    “You were working in the fields?” Hanako asked incredulously.
  9. impulsive
    characterized by undue haste and lack of thought
    So Hanako exclaimed impulsively, “Mama, I want to try something new. I’m ready to have my hair cut!”
  10. blunt
    characterized by directness in manner or speech
    “It looks worse than before,” Akira said bluntly.
  11. engrossed
    giving or marked by complete attention to
    Hanako was a little jealous at the way he could get so engrossed in stuff.
  12. muse
    reflect deeply on a subject
    “If you froze into place like that, you would be unhappy,” Akira mused.
  13. ponder
    reflect deeply on a subject
    He pondered the blanket and carefully set down a blade of grass.
  14. relent
    give in, as to influence or pressure
    He placed his hands on his hips, furious. He looked kind of adorable, so she relented and pulled herself away from her grandmother.
  15. sullenly
    in a manner showing a brooding ill humor
    “Everyone STOP!” Papa shouted. Then he sat down to stare sullenly at nothing at all on the table.
  16. duress
    compulsory force or threat
    “There’s an American lawyer who wants to help all of us who renounced. His name is Mr. Wayne Collins. If you would like to get your American citizenship returned, he will help you. President Roosevelt tried to get rid of us, but Mr. Collins thinks we should be able to come back if we still believe we’re Americans. He feels—and I feel—we made our decision under severe duress. All of us did.”
  17. gullet
    the passage between the pharynx and the stomach
    Jiichan cleared his throat twice like Papa had. Then three times, as if they were in a throat-clearing competition. He sounded as if he were trying to clear something really big out of his gullet.
  18. foliage
    the aggregate of leaves of one or more plants
    In the distance the mountain was green with foliage.
  19. outcropping
    part of a rock formation that juts above surrounding land
    When they reached the top, Hanako ran to an outcropping of tan rock and put out her arms as if she were hugging it.
  20. bashful
    self-consciously timid
    Hanako looked down bashfully.
  21. induct
    admit as a member
    The government—Papa often just called them “they”—wanted to induct the “loyal” men into the army, so they needed to figure out who was a loyal American and who could be discarded as disloyal.
  22. interject
    speak abruptly, especially as an interruption
    Mama interjected, “Nobody is more important than anybody else, Hanako.”
  23. concede
    be willing to yield
    But Hanako raised her chin and refused to concede.
  24. unprecedented
    novel; having no earlier occurrence
    “Yes, there’s something very special about it.” Actually, she used the word irei, which meant “ unprecedented” or “exceptional.”
  25. petulantly
    in an easily irritated or annoyed manner
    “No. I don’t like it. Too many rules. It’s not like the way my family treated me. I always got my way at home.” He stuck out his lower lip petulantly, just like Akira might, then idly scratched at where his ear had once been.
  26. swoon
    pass out from weakness or physical or emotional distress
    She felt like she might swoon, like one time when she cut her knees and they bled profusely.
  27. profusely
    in an abundant manner
    She felt like she might swoon, like one time when she cut her knees and they bled profusely.
  28. opportune
    suitable or advantageous especially for a particular purpose
    Thinking of him, she also looked for an opportune time to ask her grandparents if they needed help in the field. But when she finally did, they said not now.
  29. paddy
    an irrigated or flooded field where rice is grown
    Jiichan was extra busy preparing the paddy for the rice planting while Baachan made a special bed to plant the rice seeds. Later, once the seeds sprouted, they would be transplanted into the paddy.
  30. taut
    pulled or drawn tight
    When Jiichan reached the other side, he began to push his own peg into the mud, pulling the twine taut.
  31. irrigation
    the act of supplying dry land with water by artificial means
    The field used one of the nearby rivers for irrigation and was deliberately flooded, the water reaching halfway up Hanako’s calf.
  32. anesthetic
    a drug that causes temporary loss of bodily sensations
    She tried to forget that there were probably leeches on her legs at that very moment. She remembered reading once about how they injected anesthetic into your skin so you couldn’t feel them biting into you.
  33. plaintively
    in a manner expressing sorrow
    “Can I have your coat?” she asked plaintively, stroking it like it was a cat.
  34. whim
    a sudden desire
    Then, seemingly on a whim, he even bowed to Mimi.
  35. delirious
    experiencing hallucinations
    She was trying to get everything straight in her head. She wasn’t sure she understood! Papa? She felt almost delirious—and then she thought of Kiyoshi—all alone taking care of his sister all by himself.
Created on October 2, 2019 (updated October 7, 2019)

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