Five minutes can make a big difference!
With the shift to online lessons, students are getting out of the habit of writing (grammatically correct and clear sentences).
What can you do?
Learn one or two words a day and, drawing upon the author’s context and sentence style, write your own.
Learning words in their context also helps you to tune more deeply into the characters: their thoughts, their mindset and their feelings.
Exploring words in their narrative context
“Although he seemed quite genuine, I had a feeling that he was dissembling.”
To dissemble – to conceal one’s real motives by pretence ; to pretend simulate
2. The following are from Stasiland: Anna Funder
(Sleep deprivation) “They lose their sense of time, becoming locked in an interminable present.”
Interminable: endless or seemingly endless because of boredom
I fumble for my watch
Fumble: to grope about clumsily or blindly, esp in the dark
She paid me fulsome compliments
Fulsome; excessive or insincere.
He is so offhand about it, I feel my apprehension being replaced with something more businesslike.
Offhand – without preparation or warning; impromptu; without care or thought; attention or consideration
Smell samples were collected surreptitiously. The Stasi might break into someone’s apartment and take a piece of clothing worn close to the skin, often underwear. It ended up in a bottled jar. And then in a “smell pantry” of the Leipzig police.
Surreptitious; done, acquired etc in secret or by improper means; operating by stealth;
In retrospect it’s funny, Miriam says, “but at the time it was pure, unalloyed frustration. 26
Retrospect; the act of surveying things past; – to look back on – contemplate; (anything past)
unalloyed: not mixed or intermingled with another thing; pure (unalloyed pleasure)
Relations were conditioned by the fact that one or other of you could be one of them. Everyone suspected everyone else, and the mistrust this bred was the foundation of social existence. Miriam could have been denounced by the man for having asked a question about the border. She could have denounced him in turn for offering to show her how.
To denounce: to deplore or condemn openly; or vehemently, to accuse
Denouement – final resolution of the plot
It would never happen so blithely over goose-fat rolls and beer.
Blithe – very happy, cheerful, gay; heedless; casual and indifferent
“I was distracted by the bedridden demise of his young mother.” (Longest Memory)
- demise: failure, termination; euphemistic word for death
- (noticed the alliteration; simple sentence)
“The risk was obvious to me and yet the schooling in the idea of subservience, obedience, compliance was different for each of us.” (Longest Memory, 13)
- compliance: the act of complying; to act in accordance with rules, wishes, be obedient
- subservience; obsequious in behaviour or attitude; serving as a means to an end
- (nice tripling of nominals)
“He has done what the young reason to be their prerogative because they are blessed with youth, that is, be impetuous and be dammed.” (Longest Memory) 17
impetuous: liable to act without consideration; rash; impulsive
“Where in the hell’s name is he, Whitechapel?” My name was bellowed out.” (Longest Memory) 17.. “I winced and bowed as if a whip had boiled the air around my back.”
- to bellow: make a loud, deep raucous cry like that of a bull, roar; to shout unrestrainedly as in anger or pain; bawl
- Notice the use of the passive to convey the impersonal status of the slave.
- to wince: to start slightly, as with sudden pain, flinch
- Notice the simile. (Sets up a direct comparison with the physical whippings)
“It would not be in the interest of a slave to repeat orders detrimental to his comfort”. (Longest Memory, 23)
- detriment: disadvantage; or damage; harm
- detrimental to; harmful, injurious, prejudicial
- useful for persuasive-style essays
“The boss said he would be made an example of him (Chapel/slave) to discourage further runaways.”
- discourage: to dissuade
- use of the passive: to displace a sense of cruelty
- euphemistic language: an example of (a nice way of explaining a cruel whipping)
(use for language analysis and persuasive-style essays)
Please follow our word a day: either on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/School/English-Works-262888230534483/) or on my post: https://www.englishworks.com.au/working-with-words-page/