Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Wondrous Words Wednesday
is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog

Today's words are brought to you by 
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers

PhotoSometimes he talked like a linthead and sometimes like a professor. (20)

Linthead (noun)

a derogatory term for an employee of a textile mill, particularly in the Hill Country of the American South. The term came into usage in the early twentieth century. Lintheads were and are primarily white southerners that are either the progeny of or themselves tenant farmers.
Definition from this website.

In context, I wasn't sure if this word meant something like "feather head" or fool but I knew it had to be derogatory.  However, and in the context of this particular quote, I think that it was not said in that way because so often people casually throw around insensitive words without considering their demeaning quality. So the character, in thinking about another, is not meaning to put down so much as to compare and contrast as he mulls over the contradictions of another.
Image from this site.

A conspiracy.  A vast and insidious conspiracy.  Obscurantism.  (29)

Obscurantism (noun)
1  opposition to the spread of knowledge; a policy of withholding knowledge from the general public
2  a style (as in literature or art) characterized by deliberate vagueness or abstruseness

Definition is from this website.

Obviously, this is a political rant from a character who feels disenfranchised.  The novel takes place during the Great Depression and in rural Georgia so the times are volatile and difficult.  Not unlike how things feel now, although we are far more affluent, even now, than we were then.  I love that this man uses a word like "obscurantism" because it certainly can't have been aimed at clarifying his meaning.  I love the irony of it and, for that reason, although I knew the meaning I simply had to share it.  

Occupy Wall Street Anti-Bank Protest
Image from this site.
He watches the slow agglutination of capital and power and sees its pinnacle today.  (182)

Agglutination (verb)
2  a mass or group formed by the union of separate elements
3  the formation of derivational or inflectional words by putting together constituents of which each expresses a single definite meaning

Definition from this website.

I made chicken and dumplings the other day and used a gluten free biscuit mix.  Big mistake.  Most of the dumplings dissolved because, without the gluten, there was nothing to hold the dough together.  Talk about your life lesson. So there you go . . .

One doesn't have to look far to see the coming together of capital and power in our nation.  We are, after all, a society founded on the ideals of capitalism.  But we live in interesting times and there are increasing numbers of "Occupy America" protests rising.  Because I don't have a facebook account (or a twitter account, even), I have managed to avoid much of the political debate about what is happening.  Are these people justified in what they are doing?  Will what they are doing make a difference or change anything? I have my own thoughts about these things, of course.  However, give or take a few moments, I try to keep my political opinion to myself.  It's not a topic I choose to debate.

grant stoddard
Image from this site.
He was scrouged up in a corner and his legs were trembling.  (202-203)

Scrouge (verb)
to squeeze, crowd
Definition from this website.

Don't you love finding a new way to say something?  I mean, McCullers could have said scrunched, curled, tucked, or any other number of things.  But here is this new word to use.  It is a regional word so I suppose one would have to be justified, somehow, in choosing to say scrouge over something else.  Still, more options are fun.

Also fun is the the post I read that went along with the photograph I found.  It's an old entry but I enjoyed reading it.

Image from this site.
While it was still dark she and George went out on the sidewalk and cracked nigger-toes and shot fire-crackers and ate up the whole two-layer box of cherry candy.  (216)

nigger-toes (noun)
brazil nuts
Definition from this website.

I truly didn't want to look this word up because I don't like to use the word, see it, type it, etc.  In the context of this book, I would not censor nor change the word choice.  I still find it horribly distasteful, however.  Remarkable given how little in language offends me.  This and a few other things seem to cross a line.  I guess even I have my limits.  Besides, I'm not that crazy about brazil nuts anyway.


  1. Your post is very interesting with definitions, comments and photos ! They helps me to better understand because of my poor English ! Thanks !

  2. What a bunch of interesting words. Some of course hopefully would no longer be used, but are very interesting for their historical context. I really enjoyed the picture of the vireo too. (BTW your new format looks very nice, but commenting is quite difficult- it disappeared the first time, and takes you to the old screen to put the confirmation word in, but then the comment disappeared -twice, I had to copy and past the comment this time)

  3. Louise, You're not the first person to complain and I've decided to go to a less interesting yet more colorful format. Obviously, blogger rolled out something new and hadn't yet worked out the bugs. Not a surprise. That's why I'm not looking forward to the enforced change to the new UI. I've already tried it and found it difficult to use. If they haven't fixed the issues, I may not have the patience to blog here any longer. It took me over an hour with the new UI and that doesn't include typing the blog, finding photos, etc. Just copying and pasting and then trying to get the layout to look right . . . over an hour. Not fun.

  4. Annie, I've been trying to give a little more response to not only my wondrous words posts but my book reviews. I'm glad that you like it. I appreciate your comment very much.

  5. Samael, It helps if I can remember to make time for these posts, doesn't it? I'm still trying to get the rhythm of going to school and making time for studying. And then there's reading blog posts . . . I have three tabs open to three different blogs. They are there to remind me to stop studying every now and again, pause for a little distraction, leave a comment (if inspired to do so), and then get back to it. Your blog is one of those tabs over there, waiting for me to slow down.

    But first--breakfast. I just did 7 miles on the bike and I need some fuel.

  6. well I am honored to know that you enjoy having my blog up. And I also enjoy coming here to see all these interesting words...maybe I will work a few into one of my writings one day..have to use the perfect choice though as I don't want to completely alienate my audience.