Ocean Vocabulary

Posted: 18 October, 2014 in Bookish, Other, Reviews, Uncategorized
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It’s time for another vocab lesson with the Dirty Old Man! This time we’re doing Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Like last time, I’m not going to review the thing (gods know there are more than enough people doing that these days). I’m just gonna run through words that stood out to me.

 

 

This is the quote that opens the book:

Maurice Sendak to Art Spiegelman in the New Yorker – I remember my own child hood vividly I knew terrible things, but I knew I mustn’t let adults know I knew them. It would scare them.

 

Catkins –  Sometimes, even if I know what something is, especially a plant or animal, but I don’t see it often, I’ll look up a picture so’s I can keep up with the author.

 

Dowsing –  a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites,[1] and many other objects and materials without the use of scientific apparatus. [I’ve always heard this called water witching.

 

Trestle – a framework consisting of a horizontal beam supported by two pairs of sloping legs, used in pairs to support a flat surface such as a tabletop.

Poulter – Poltergeist

 

Shuck – a person or thing regarded as worthless or contemptible.

 

Girls and Boys come out to play – an old Nursery rhyme 

 

In those dreams I spoke that language too, the first language, and I had dominion over the nature of all that was real. It is the most basic building brick of everything in my dreams I kept a perfect little bed and breakfast by the seaside, and to everyone who came to stay with me I would say in that tongue, “Be whole” and they would become whole, not be broken people, not any longer, because I had spoken the language of shaping.

 

That’s the trouble with things. Don’t last very long, Kittens one day, old cats the next. And then just memories. And the memories fade and blend and smudge together…

 

I do not know why I did not ask an adult about it. I do not remember asking adults about anything, except as a last resort. That was the year I dug a wart from my knee with a penknife, discovering how deeply I could cut before it hurt, and what the roots of a wart look like.

 

Small children believe themselves to be gods, or some of them do, and they can only be satisfied when the rest of the world goes along with their way of seeing things.

 

I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children’s stories. They were better than that. They just were.

 

When he got angry enough to shout at me he would occasionally remind me that he did not hit me, as if to make me grateful. In the school stories I read, misbehaviour often resulted in a caning, or the slipper, and then was forgiven and done, and I would sometimes envy those fictional children for the cleanness of their lives.

 

Narcissi  – Daffodils

 

Counterpane – a bedspread.

 

Why do I find the hardest thing for me to believe, looking back, is that a girl of five and a boy of seven had a gas fire in their bedroom?

 

Mangle (object) – Called a Wringer in the United States. a mechanical laundry aid consisting of two rollers in a sturdy frame, connected by cogs and, in its home version, powered by a hand crank or electrically. While the appliance was originally used to wring water from wet laundry, today mangles are used to press or flatten sheets, tablecloths, kitchen towels, or clothing and other laundry.

 

Oh, Monsters are scared… That’s why they’re monsters.

 

Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.

 

Knucklebones – Jacks (the ones you catch while bouncing a ball, not the men’s toilet)

 

The second things I thought was that I knew everything Lettie Hempstock’s Ocean flowed inside me, and it filled the entire universe, from egg to rose. I knew that. I knew what Egg was —Where the universe be can, to the sound of uncreated voices singing in the void—and I knew where rose was—the peculiar crinkling of space on space into dimensions that fold like origami and blossom like strange orchids, and which would mark the last good time before the eventual end of everything and the next big bang, which would be, I knew now, nothing of the kind.

 

Skeins –  a length of thread or yarn, loosely coiled and knotted; tangled or complicated arrangement, state, or situation

 

Spotted dick – a pudding popular in Britain, containing dried fruit (usually currants or raisins) commonly served with custard.

 

 

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