a possibility from a favorable combination of circumstances
He was asking how things were at the Khushal School for Girls, which he founded and I attended, but I always took the
opportunity to answer the question literally.
My youngest brother, Atal, was in an especially
cheeky mood that morning.
light teasing repartee
banter nearly made me late, and I raced out the door, my half-eaten breakfast still on the table.
a state of extreme confusion and disorder
chaos of Mingora city surrounded us with its honking horns and factory noises while we worked silently, bent over our papers in hushed concentration.
As the structure of the example sentence suggests, "chaos" and "hushed concentration" are opposite states. But they are also both used here to emphasize the freedoms of the city, where cars and factories can make lots of noise, while girls are allowed to test their knowledge in school. This scene sets up a contrast with the shooting.
marked by erratic changeableness in affections
I think Bella from Twilight is too
fickle, and I don’t understand why she would choose that boring Edward.
Here are other examples of Malala's opinions: "I like cupcakes but not candy. And I don’t think dark chocolate should be called chocolate at all. I hate eggplant and green peppers, but I love pizza." These statements show that she knows her heart and mind, unlike the fictional Bella, and she would not waste her freedom with fickleness.
produced or growing in extreme abundance
Swat was known for its beauty, and tourists came from all over to see its tall mountains,
lush green hills, and crystal-clear rivers.
fill with revolutionary ideas
I’m named for the great young Pashtun heroine Malalai, who
inspired her countrymen with her courage.
provide a service or favor for someone
So I guess you could say that when Khushal fights with me, I
not suited to your comfort, purpose or needs
They are quite
inconvenient sometimes, I told God.
give moral or emotional strength to
consoled me by telling me about the mistakes great heroes had made when they were children.
someone opposed to violence as a means of settling disputes
Heroes like Mahatma Gandhi, the great
pacifist, and Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
Malala's father is gentle and educated, so his choice of a pacifist as a hero is not surprising. What makes him different from many Pakistani fathers is his recognition that all heroes started out as children who made mistakes, so all children, including daughters, can grow up to be heroes who make a difference.
have, give, or receive a share of
I vowed then that I would never
partake in badal.
Badal is part of the Pashtunwali code; it is "a tradition of revenge—where one insult must be answered by another, one death by another, and on and on it goes." Vowing never to partake in this tradition, just as she vowed never to cover her face with a veil, shows Malala's pacifistic will, which developed from the freedoms she grew up with and which was strengthened by her encounters with the Taliban.
kindness in welcoming guests or strangers
That’s because one of the most important parts of the Pashtunwali code is
hospitality. As a Pashtun, you always open your door to a visitor.
a porch along the outside of a building
My mother and the women would gather on our
veranda at the back of the house and cook and laugh and talk about new clothes, jewelry, and other ladies in the neighborhood
marked by boisterous merriment or convulsive laughter
Tinkling laughter sometimes. Raucous,
uproarious laughter sometimes.
"Raucous" means "disturbing the public peace; loud and rough." It also means "unpleasantly loud and harsh" but this second definition doesn't fit, because Malala enjoys hearing the soft, tinkling laughter as well as the rough and noisy kind. Both levels of laughter from women who can be publicly seen and heard are signs of their freedom.
strikingly beautiful or attractive
stunning of all: The women’s headscarves and veils were gone. Their long dark hair and pretty faces—made up with lipstick and henna—were lovely to see.
"Stunning" also means "causing great astonishment or shock." Both definitions fit. The women look stunning without their headscarves and veils, but Malala is stunned because she is used to seeing them covered.
emanating or as if emanating light
But to see these women chatting casually—their faces
radiant with freedom—was to see a whole new world.
fearless and daring
Our relatives thought I was very
bold. (Some said rude.)
Compare with the definition and example sentence for "cheeky." The cheekiness that Atal showed had less to do with being bold and more with being rude. But Malala was accused by some relatives of being cheeky when she boldly decided that living under wraps is unfair, so she will never cover her cheeks with a veil.
unknown in advance
It was an exciting game, full of
unpredictable escapes and plunges.
characterized by or causing or expressing sadness
It was beautiful, and also a bit
melancholy for me to see the pretty kites sputter to the ground.
propel for the first time, on a maiden voyage
As I watched my brothers run up to the roof to
launch their kites, I wondered how free I could ever really be.
headed or intending to head in a certain direction
“Look at this girl,” he’d say. “She is
destined for the skies!”
"Destined" also means "governed by fate." Although Malala and her family believe that God has a role in their lives, they also believe that each person has to work hard to be successful. This can be seen in the father's encouragement: "Carry on with your dreams" because “I will protect your freedom, Malala."
having worldly knowledge and refinement
Even when I was only seven or eight, I was considered a
sophisticated city girl, and sometimes my cousins teased me because I didn’t like to go barefoot and I wore clothes bought at the bazaar, not homemade like theirs.
not able to read or write
It is not at all uncommon for women in my country to be
illiterate, but to see my mother, a proud and intelligent woman, struggle to read the prices in the bazaar was an unspoken sadness for both of us, I think.
very bad in degree or extent
Schools for girls had been burned to the ground, and all women were forced to wear a
severe form of burqa, a head-to-toe veil that had only a tiny fabric grille for their eyes.
"Severe" also means "austerely simple" and this could describe the lack of colors and designs in the loose outer garment. But the tone of the example sentence, with its focus on covering everything and its connection to burned schools, suggests the chosen definition. To Malala, a severe form of burqa is a severe loss of freedom, and that is very bad.
prohibit especially by law or social pressure
banned from laughing out loud or wearing nail polish, and they were beaten or jailed for walking without a male family member.
having excessive or compulsive concern with something
That’s when I became
obsessed with owning a magic pencil.
the act of depriving something of its sacred character
“I am representing good Muslims,” the mufti said. “And we all think your girls’ high school is a
an accommodation in which both sides make concessions
So my father came up with a
compromise: The older girls would enter through a different gate.
characterized by great firmness of purpose
Her name was Malka-e-Noor, and she was bright and
determined, but I did not think she was nearly as clever as me.