In the story Nightjohn, one of the words is "flicked." I want to know what is the meaning of the word "flicked."

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The word "flicked" is used in Chapter 5, in the description of the cruel punishment Waller inflicts on Mammy when he discovers Sarny writing. Slaves were forbidden to learn to read and write, and the penalty for doing so was barbaric mutilation. Sarny, who is only a child, denies knowing how to read and write, and when Waller strikes her, she runs to Mammy for help. Waller decides to take out his ire on Mammy, and to use her as an example to deter the other slaves from learning how to read.

After hanging Mammy out in the sun by her wrists for a whole day, Waller strips away her clothes and hitches her to a buggy like a horse. Climbing into the buggy's seat, Waller takes a whip, and commands Mammy to pull. He makes the whip

"(snake) out from the buggy seat like it (is) alive and flick(s) and blood come(s) on Mammy's shoulder."

The word "flick" means a light, quick strike or blow, and as used in the book, it describes the motion of the whip wielded by Waller. The whip flies through the air, and in a quick motion like a snake, its tip lightly and quickly cuts Mammy's skin, cruelly and painfully.