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Mockingbird, Vocabulary in context
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On each of the following, make a prediction about what the word means based on the sentence. Here is a quick reminder of the "context clue" you may use when making a prediction.
Pairing – when an author repeats an idea to make his point clear.
- Clues that you may have pairing: "and," a semicolon, a comma between two words Sample: In the end, the traitor was perfidious, faithless to the ideals he once claimed to love. Perfidious is paired with faithless. Prediction: extreme faithlessness
Contrast – when the vocabulary word is the opposite of another idea in the sentence
- Clues that you may have a contrast: “even though,” “not,” “range from” Sample: Sue can be sanguine one minute and depressed the next. "One minute" contrasted with "the next" tell you that you're looking for the opposite of depressed. Prediction: happy.
Cause and Effect – when one idea causes another, you can logically figure out what the most likely cause or effect would be.
- Clues that you have a cause and effect: "because," "since," "when," "so/that," Sample: The young man is so narcissistic that he can't pass a mirror without stopping to admire his own hair. "narcissistic" causes him to admire himself. Prediction: stuck up, vain.
On your paper, write the strategy that you used to make your prediction, explain your logic, make a prediction, and then look the word up to determine how close you came. The first one is done for you.
- When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem’s fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. 7
- I used cause and effect. It caused Jem to not care. Prediction: put aside, erased. Definition: to make milder or less severe; relieve; ease; mitigate
Now, do these on your own.
- Simon would have regarded with impotent fury the disturbance between the North and the South, as it left his descendants stripped of everything but their land. 8
- Their sister Alexandra was the Finch who remained at the Landing: she married a taciturn man who spent most of his time lying in a hammock by the river wondering if his trot-lines were full. 9
- Calpurnia always won, mainly because Atticus always took her side. She had been with us ever since Jem was born, and I had felt her tyrannical presence as long as I could remember. 10
- Thus we came to know Dill as a pocket Merlin, whose head teemed with eccentric plans, strange longings, and quaint fancies. 12
- But by the end of August our repertoire was vapid from countless reproductions, and it was then that Dill gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out. 12
- Inside the house lived a malevolent phantom. 13
- Boo’s transition from the basement to back home was nebulous in Jem’s memory. 16
- Jem threw open the gate and sped to the side of the house, slapped it with his palm and ran back to us, not waiting to see if his foray was successful. 19
- Jem condescended to take me to school the first day, a job usually done by one’s parents, but Atticus has said Jem would be delighted to show me where my room was. 20
- I never deliberately learned to read, but somehow I had been wallowing illicitly in the daily papers. 22
- If I could have explained these things to Miss Caroline, I would have saved myself some inconvenience and Amiss Caroline subsequent mortification… 26
- The boy did not answer. He gave a short contemptuous snort. 31
- “Ain’t got no mother,” was the answer, “and their paw’s right contentious.” 32
- He was among the most diminutive of men, but when Burris Ewell turned toward him, Little Chuck’s right hand went to his pocket. “Watch your step, Burris,” he said. 32
- …he was full of questions about school. My replies were monosyllabic and he did not press me. 33
- He waited in amiable silence, and I sought to reinforce my position. 34
About this Document
This requires students to make predictions about the meaning of vocabulary words based on the context.