The People Could Fly

15 words used in Virginia Hamilton's retelling of the classic folktale.

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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. faze
    disturb the composure of
    His faze fell on the plantation where the slave who could not fly waited.
  2. croon
    sing softly
    She had no heart to croon to it.
  3. holler
    call out loudly
    “Keep that thing quiet,” called the Overseer. He pointed his finger at the babe. The woman scrunched low. The Driver cracked his ship across the babe anyhow. The babe hollered like any hurt child, and the woman fell to the earth. The old man that was there, Toby, came and helped her to her feet. “I must go soon,” she told him. “S
  4. plantation
    an estate where cash crops are grown on a large scale
    Way above the plantation, way over the slavery land.
  5. bawl
    cry loudly
    That babe started up bawling too loud.
  6. seer
    an observer who perceives visually
    He was the seer.
  7. shiny
    reflecting light
    Black, shiny wings flappin’ against the blue up there.
  8. hoe
    a tool with a flat blade attached to a long handle
    Sarah hoed and chopped the row as the babe on her back slept.
  9. slave
    a person who is owned by someone
    They couldn’t take their wings across the water on slave ships.
  10. labored
    requiring or showing effort
    The slaves labored in the fields from sunup to sundown.
  11. snarl
    utter in an angry, sharp, or abrupt tone
    “Get up, you black cow,” called the Overseer. He pointed his hand, and the Driver’s whip snarled around Sarah’s legs. Her sack dress tore into rags. Her legs bled onto the earth. She couldn’t get up. Toby was there where there was no one to help her and the babe before it’s too late,” panted Sarah.“Now,
  12. soothe
    cause to feel better
    Couldn’t stop to soothe and quiet it down.
  13. tremble
    move quickly and involuntarily up and down or sideways
    She trembled to be so hard worked and scorned.
  14. misery
    a state of ill-being due to affliction or misfortune
    The folks were full of misery, then.
  15. mystery
    something that baffles understanding and cannot be explained
    “Kum...yali, kum buba tambe,” and more magic words, said so quickly, they sounded like whispers and sighs. The young woman lifted one foot on the air. Then the other. She flew clumsily at first, with the child now held tightly in her arms. The she felt the magic, the African mystery. Say she rose just as free as a bird. As light as a feather. The Overseer rode after her, hollerin’.
Created on December 18, 2015

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