"The Watsons Go to Birmingham," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-3

June 20, 2013
When the Watson family of Christopher Paul Curtis's novel "The Watsons Go To Birmingham" pay Grandma a visit in Alabama, they walk straight into the center of the Civil Rights Movement.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Chapters 1-3, Chapters 4-7, Chapters 8-11, Chapters 12-Epilogue.
Dad said this would generate a little heat but he didn’t have to tell us this, it seemed like the cold automatically made us want to get together and huddle-up.
Byron had just turned thirteen so he was officially a teenage juvenile delinquent and didn’t think it was “cool” to touch anybody or let anyone touch him, even if it meant he froze to death.
Then the guy on TV said, “Here’s a little something we can use to brighten our spirits and give us some hope for the future: The temperature in Atlanta, Georgia, is forecast to reach. . .” Dad coughed real loud and jumped off the couch to turn the TV off but we all heard the weatherman say, . . the mid-seventies!”
And he was a respectable boy too, he wasn’t a down at all.”
Laughing only encouraged Dad to cut up more, so when he saw the whole family thinking he was funny he really started putting on a show.
“Yup, Hambone Henderson proposed to your mother around the same time I did."
“Oh yeah,” Dad interrupted, “they’re a laugh a minute down there."
I could tell by the way he was pouting that Byron was going to try and get out of doing his share of the work.
Byron caught his breath and said, “Aww, man, you flunked!"
I kept on chopping ice off the back window and ignored By’s mumbling voice.
Dad thought that was hilarious and put his head back on his arms.
Having the school’s god as my relative helped in some other ways too.
"I’ve often told you that as Negroes the world is many times a hostile place for us.”
I want you to carefully note how advanced this second-grade student is, and I particularly want you to be aware of the effect his skills have upon you.
I guess I was too nervous about Mr. Alums to have recognized the voice before, but as soon as I walked into the room I froze.
And Byron Watson, if you are incapable of taking some of the fire out of your eyes I assure you I will find a way to assist you.
“If, instead of trying to intimidate your young brother, you would emulate him and use that mind of yours, perhaps you’d find things much easier."
I still got called Egghead or Poindexter or Professor some of the time but that wasn’t bad compared to what could have happened.
Every other time someone was late he’d just laugh at them and tell the rest of us, “This is the only way you little punks is gonna learn to be punctual."
Then he had to add, “Y’all just sit next to Poindexter, he don’t bother no one.”
This guy was real desperate for a friend because even though I wouldn’t say much back to him he kept jabbering away at me all through class.
But LJ wasn’t satisfied with doing one or two, I guess he wanted a raise, so one day he said to me, “You know, we should stop having these little fights all the time."
Maybe it was because we had such a great war going on and I was kind of nervous about who’d win, but this stupid stuff made sense, so instead of digging each one of the couple hundred dead dinosaurs a grave we dug one giant hole and buried all the radioactive ones in it, then we put a big rock on top so no radioactivity could leak out.
But I was just making excuses to myself for being so stupid.
I guess I should have told Momma that I really appreciated her helping me get my friend back but I didn’t have to.

Rate this wordlist:

Join the conversation

Comments from our users:

Monday July 15th 2013, 5:00 AM
Comment by: Charles Z. (New Zealand)
Your List is cool as! GO VOCABULARY.COM!!!

Do you have a comment?

Share it with the Visual Thesaurus community.

Your comments:

Sign in to post a comment!

We're sorry, you must be a subscriber to comment.

Click here to subscribe today.

Already a subscriber? Click here to login.

Create a new Word List