WORD LISTS

"Internment" by Samira Ahmed, Chapters 1–3

April 29, 2019
Layla Amin thinks of herself as a typical American teenager. But when Muslim-Americans like Layla and her family are forcibly relocated to internment camps, the seventeen-year-old decides to fight for her freedom.

Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1–3, Chapters 4–6, Chapters 7–16, Chapters 17–22, Chapters 23–28, Chapters 29–36

Here is a link to our lists for Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed.
virulent
Two months since a virulent Islamophobe was sworn in as secretary of war—a cabinet position that hasn’t existed since World War II.
personnel
But you’d be surprised how quickly armed military personnel and pepper spray shut down the well-meaning protests of liberals in small, leafy towns.
mainstream
They’re still happening, the protests-turned-riots, even though the mainstream media won’t cover them.
uncanny
Technically, I’m not doing anything wrong, not yet, but if the police stop me—well, let’s just say they have an uncanny ability to make technicalities disappear.
technicality
Technically, I’m not doing anything wrong, not yet, but if the police stop me—well, let’s just say they have an uncanny ability to make technicalities disappear.
superimpose
The words are superimposed on a cascade of banned books, dangerous books.
headlong
A hard knot forms in my stomach, but I keep walking, eyes still on the poster, and bump headlong into a woman rushing in the opposite direction.
deferential
I try to be polite, deferential.
tenure
My dad teaches poetry and writing. Did teach, I should say. Until he was fired—mysteriously deemed unqualified for the tenured professorship he’d had for over a decade.
applique
He’s drawn the curtains in the small studio space—a white sofa piled high with navy-blue pillows, some with appliquéd anchors on them; a couple of overstuffed arm chairs; lots of faded pink and ivory seashells in mason jars; and, on the wall, a framed poster declaring LIFE’S A BEACH against white sand and cerulean sky and sea.
cerulean
He’s drawn the curtains in the small studio space—a white sofa piled high with navy-blue pillows, some with appliquéd anchors on them; a couple of overstuffed arm chairs; lots of faded pink and ivory seashells in mason jars; and, on the wall, a framed poster declaring LIFE’S A BEACH against white sand and cerulean sky and sea.
diorama
It would be a perfect moment to freeze in time and make into a little diorama that I could inhabit for an eternity.
spree
My dad badgered us into watching Doctor Who, starting with the old-school episodes, and we got hooked. Since then we’ve had on-and-off binge-watching sprees.
euphemism
Bonfire? Let’s not use euphemisms. They’re burning books in the school parking lot.
acrid
We race across the lawn, an acrid burning smell heavy in the night air.
clandestine
As I approach my yard, it dawns on me that I might be able to outrun the person who was chasing us, but no matter how fast I sprint, I can’t escape this new reality of curfews and clandestine meetings and cinders rising in the air.
juxtaposed
I’m smacked with the smell of frying onions and adrak lehsan. The smell of home juxtaposed with the sweaty, breathless odor of desperation and the taste of rust in my mouth.
synapse
She’s like me; I know that her synapses must be on rapid fire, but my mom’s practiced meditation for years.
acquiescence
I’m not sure Dad believes me, but he accepts my nod as acquiescence.
mirth
He gives me a mirthless smile and walks toward my mom.
duress
“Beta, I spoke out of fear, out of an instinct to protect you and your mom. And I do want to protect you, but I’m ashamed that I allowed myself to think, even for a minute, that hiding who we are would have been the right answer. Taqiyya, concealing our religion, is forgivable, but only under extreme duress—only to save lives. And the census was hardly a life-threatening situation. Look at Hazrat Summayah. If she didn’t conceal her faith, it hardly seems acceptable for us to do so.”
rehash
“Layla. We made a choice. And it was the right one. What do you think you’re going to accomplish by rehashing it now? The past is the past.”
holistic
So much of my dad’s poetry is about finding truth in small things. Of course he believes this. And my mom—her whole chiropractic practice is based on a holistic health approach to life.
prevailing
During the election, with paranoia and Islamophobia and isolationism as the prevailing themes, my parents held on to this hope.
rile
During the primary debates, when the now-president said on national television that there was justification and precedent for a Muslim registry, my parents, along with so many others, dismissed it as fearmongering, red meat to rile up the base.
sleeper
When politicians seized on an attack at a French nightclub to warn about creeping Sharia and sleeper cells on US soil and polls began to favor the Muslim ban and the registry, so many of us said, “It can’t happen here.”
rhetoric
But the lies, the rhetoric...the fake news, the false statistics, all gave those well-meaning people who say they’re not bigots cover to vote for a man who openly tweeted his hatred of us on a nearly daily basis.
superlative
It’s not loud enough for me to hear, but every National Security Address hits the same notes. America First. Lots of euphemisms and misplaced superlatives.
saccharine
Saccharine sentimentality isn’t going to stop me from feeling helpless and terrified.
sentimentality
Saccharine sentimentality isn’t going to stop me from feeling helpless and terrified.
flourish
My father is homeschooling me, and he insists we follow the curriculum. He also likes to add his own flourishes, hence all the poetry—right now it’s Wordsworth and Emily Dickinson and Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
emblazon
A dark van with a black-and-white logo emblazoned on the door parks behind my mom’s sedan.
viscous
Suit #2 draws a gun, and suddenly time slows down, like it’s viscous, and my entire body is drenched in sweat.
vest
Suit #1 speaks, his voice a taut wire. “Under order of the Exclusion Authority and by the powers vested in the secretary of war under Presidential Order 1455, we are here to serve notice and carry out your relocation.”
beholden
Time is beholden to neither love nor tyrant.

Rate this wordlist:

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