WORD LISTS

"The House on Mango Street" Vocabulary

April 4, 2013
As you read Sandra Cisneros's "The House on Mango Street," learn this list of 40 words.
chandelier
Just like that, as if she were a fancy chandelier.
sassy
She is very sassy.
limb
The dog is big, like a man dressed in a dog suit, and runs the same way its owner does, clumsy and wild and with the limbs flopping all over the place like untied shoes.
jut
Out front there are twenty-one steps, all lopsided and jutting like crooked teeth (made that way on purpose, Cathy said, so the rain will slide off), and when Meme’s mama calls from the doorway, Meme goes scrambling up the twenty-one wooden stairs with the dog with two names scrambling after him.
scramble
Out front there are twenty-one steps, all lopsided and jutting like crooked teeth (made that way on purpose, Cathy said, so the rain will slide off), and when Meme’s mama calls from the doorway, Meme goes scrambling up the twenty-one wooden stairs with the dog with two names scrambling after him.
fleck
She is the one who told us how Davey the Baby’s sister got pregnant and what cream is best for taking off moustache hair and if you count the white flecks on your fingernails you can know how many boys are thinking of you and lots of other things I can’t remember now.
brim
We know the guy with the crooked eye is Davey the Baby’s brother, and the tall one next to him in the straw brim, that’s Rosa’s Eddie V., and the big one that looks like a dumb grown man, he’s Fat Boy, though he’s not fat anymore nor a boy.
descend
The mother’s feet, plump and polite, descended like white pigeons from the sea of pillow, across the linoleum roses, down down the wooden stairs, over the chalk hopscotch squares, 5, 6, 7, blue sky.
linoleum
The mother’s feet, plump and polite, descended like white pigeons from the sea of pillow, across the linoleum roses, down down the wooden stairs, over the chalk hopscotch squares, 5, 6, 7, blue sky.
strut
It’s Rachel who learns to walk the best all strutted in those magic high heels.
totter
Lucy, Rachel, me tee-tottering like so.
tavern
Across the street in front of the tavern a bum man on the stoop.
canteen
My home isn’t far but it’s not close either, and somehow I got it in my head one day to ask my mother to make me a sandwich and write a note to the principal so I could eat in the canteen too.
spartan
In this sentence, Cisneros is referring to the ancient race of Spartans from Sparta in Greece who were known for being very firm in their beliefs and incredibly well-disciplined.
I’m no Spartan and hold up an anemic wrist to prove it.
anemic
I’m no Spartan and hold up an anemic wrist to prove it.
swell
My feet swell big and heavy like plungers, but I drag them across the linoleum floor straight center where Uncle wants to show off the new dance we learned.
cue
I want to move like heebie-jeebie, I say picking up on the cue.
naphtha
She is the color of a bar of naphtha laundry soap, she is like the little brown piece left at the end of the wash, the hard little bone, my sister.
crumple
Esta muerto, and then as if he just heard the news himself, crumples like a coat and cries, my brave Papa cries.
limp
But I knew her sick from the disease that would not go, her legs bunched under the yellow sheets, the bones gone limp as worms.
imitate
Someone you could imitate and everyone else would have to guess who it was.
sorrow
This card, the one with the dark man on a dark horse, this means jealousy, and this one, sorrow.
pillar
Here a pillar of bees and this a mattress of luxury.
intern
Nobody but an intern working all alone.
currency
They never knew about the two-room flats and sleeping rooms he rented, the weekly money orders sent home, the currency exchange.
scarcely
Finally I came to the last lines: “But answer came there none—and this was scarcely odd, because they’d eaten every one .
wedge
The little wooden door that has wedged shut the dark for so long opens with a sigh and lets out a breath of mold and dampness, like books that have been left out in the rain.
jukebox
Earl is a jukebox repairman.
ferocious
They send ferocious roots beneath the ground.
fuchsia
Out stepped a tiny pink shoe, a foot soft as a rabbit’s ear, then the thick ankle, a flutter of hips, fuchsia roses and green perfume.
salmon
Huge, enormous, beautiful to look at, from the salmon-pink feather on the tip of her hat down to the little rosebuds of her toes.
flick
The boys at school think she’s beautiful because her hair is shiny black like raven feathers and when she laughs, she flicks her hair back like a satin shawl over her shoulders and laughs.
content
They don’t look down at all except to be content to live on hills.
threshold
My mother says when I get older my dusty hair will settle and my blouse will learn to stay clean, but I have decided not to grow up tame like the others who lay their necks on the threshold waiting for the ball and chain.
velvety
She borrows opera records from the public library and sings with velvety lungs powerful as morning glories.
porcelain
The green metal cage, the porcelain table top, the family that spoke like guitars.
fringe
There were sunflowers big as flowers on Mars and thick cockscombs bleeding the deep red fringe of theater curtains.
crusty
Another definition of "crusty" is "brusque and surly and forbidding"--this could also describe the ladybugs, who not only have crusty shells but could feel crusty at being poked. This personification of insects would not be out of place in a monkey garden with "sleepy cars" and flowers that "stopped obeying the little bricks that kept them from growing beyond their paths."
Poke a stick in the sandy soil and a few blue-skinned beetles would appear, an avenue of ants, so many crusty lady bugs.
bazaar
She met a marshmallow salesman at a school bazaar, and she married him in another state where it’s legal to get married before eighth grade.
trudge
“And so she trudged up the wooden stairs, her sad brown shoes taking her to the house she never liked.”

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Wednesday April 10th 2013, 4:42 AM
Comment by: farooq (Pakistan)
bingo
Monday April 15th 2013, 11:25 PM
Comment by: hector H. (CA)
fun
Thursday September 26th 2013, 2:18 PM
Comment by: winona D.
learning new words can help

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