List 1

This list covers "Toward a Topography of the Parallel Universe"–"My Suicide."
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definitions & notes only words
  1. obliterate
    make indistinct or invisible by obscuring or concealing
    She was in a theater watching a movie when a tidal wave of blackness broke over her head. The entire world was obliterated—for a few minutes.
  2. engrossed
    giving or marked by complete attention to
    She looked around the theater to see if it had happened to everyone, but all the other people were engrossed in the movie.
  3. incremental
    increasing gradually by regular degrees or additions
    But most people pass over incrementally, making a series of perforations in the membrane between here and there until an opening exists.
  4. perforation
    a hole made in something
    But most people pass over incrementally, making a series of perforations in the membrane between here and there until an opening exists.
  5. alluring
    highly attractive and able to arouse hope or desire
    Sometimes the world you came from looks huge and menacing, quivering like a vast pile of jelly; at other times it is miniaturized and alluring, a-spin and shining in its orbit.
  6. taut
    pulled or drawn tight
    He was a taut fat man, tight-bellied and dark.
  7. conciliatory
    intended to placate
    "It'll be a rest. Just for a couple of weeks, okay?" He sounded conciliatory, or pleading, and I was afraid.
  8. etiology
    the cause of a disease
    This person is (pick one):
    1. on a perilous journey from which we can learn much when he or she returns;
    2. possessed by (pick one):
    a) the gods,

    b) God (that is, a prophet),

    c) some bad spirits, demons, or devils,

    d) the Devil
  9. purge
    rid of impurities
    6. ill, and must be isolated and treated by (pick one):
    a) purging and leeches,
    b) removing the uterus if the person has one,
    c) electric shock to the brain,
    d) cold sheets wrapped tight around the body,
    e) Thorazine or Stelazine
  10. deviant
    markedly different from an accepted norm
    8. a victim of society's low tolerance for deviant behavior;
    9. sane in an insane world
  11. pallor
    unnatural lack of color
    Scar tissue has no character. It's not like skin. It doesn't show age or illness or pallor or tan. It has no pores, no hair, no wrinkles. It's like a slipcover. It shields and disguises what's beneath.
  12. impermeable
    preventing especially liquids to pass or diffuse through
    She was faultless, in her impermeable tight pink-and-white casing.
  13. immolate
    kill as a sacrifice, especially by fire
    Whatever had driven her, whispered "Die!" in her once-perfect, now-scarred ear, she had immolated it.
  14. unobtrusive
    not undesirably noticeable
    Polly was so quiet, so unobtrusive a presence, that we didn't notice she wasn't at breakfast.
  15. sociopath
    a person with an antisocial personality disorder
    Her mother and father wouldn't visit her because she was a sociopath, or so said Lisa.
  16. scorn
    lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
    Lisa had never watched TV. She'd had nothing but scorn for those who did.
  17. catatonic
    characterized by unresponsiveness or lack of movement
    But the TV audience was mostly catatonics and depressives, who were disinclined to move.
  18. corona
    (anatomy) any structure that resembles a crown in shape
    He was standing at a window in the living room, looking out: giraffe-tall, with slumpy academic shoulders, wrists sticking out of his jacket, and pale hair that shot out from his head in a corona.
  19. miffed
    aroused to impatience or anger
    "Okay." He didn't seem miffed.
  20. provincial
    lacking sophistication or worldliness
    In our parallel world, things happened that had not yet happened in the world we'd come from. When they finally happened outside, we found them familiar because versions of them had been performed in front of us. It was as if we were a provincial audience, New Haven to the real world's New York, where history could try out its next spectacle.
  21. lapse
    go back to bad behavior
    Shortly after this he lapsed into a violent phase that went on for several weeks.
  22. unguent
    preparation applied externally as a remedy or for soothing
    I screamed and screamed, but Georgina didn't make a sound. The nurses ran in and produced ice and unguents and wrappings, and I kept screaming, and Georgina did nothing.
  23. sear
    burn slightly and superficially so as to affect color
    Whoever it was, we knew about it already: the Bay of Pigs, the seared skin, the bare-handed killers who'd do anything.
  24. affect
    an emotion, or the outward display of an emotion
    We'd seen the previews, Wade, Georgina, and I, along with an audience of nurses whose reviews ran something like this: "Patient lacked affect after accident"; "Patient continues fantasy that father is CIA operative with dangerous friends."
  25. glower
    look angry or sullen as if to signal disapproval
    Even though she smelled and glowered and hissed and poked, she had a spark the rest of us lacked.
  26. wiry
    lean but strong
    She wore shorts and tank tops to display her pale wiry limbs, and when she ambled down the hall in the morning to get her laxatives, she swung her ass in insouciant half-circles.
  27. insouciant
    marked by unconcern
    She wore shorts and tank tops to display her pale wiry limbs, and when she ambled down the hall in the morning to get her laxatives, she swung her ass in insouciant half-circles.
  28. fascist
    relating to authoritarian hierarchical government
    "This place is a fascist snake pit," said Lisa.
  29. waft
    be driven or carried along, as by the air
    When the door shut behind Lisa, a strange sweet smell wafted briefly into the hall.
  30. oblige
    provide a service or favor for someone
    Daisy was pleased with herself and spent more time out of her room, hoping that someone would ask her about the apartment. Georgina obliged.
    "How big is the apartment, Daisy?"
  31. relish
    derive or receive pleasure from
    Daisy shut her eyes and paused, relishing her favorite part.
  32. detachment
    lack of emotion or interest
    It's important to cultivate detachment.
  33. paramount
    having superior power and influence
    The motive is paramount. Without a strong motive, you're sunk.
  34. deterrent
    something immaterial that interferes with action or progress
    It was a good deterrent.
  35. respite
    a pause from doing something
    The meat was bruised, bleeding, and imprisoned in a tight wrapping. And, though I had a six-month respite from thinking about it, so was I.
Created on March 15, 2020 (updated March 16, 2020)

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