Vocabulary Lists

Literature

  • 30 Words"The Black Cat" by Edgar Allan Poe
  • 30 Words"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain
  1. DigA.S. King
    Five cousins from an unconventional family try to reestablish ties while uncovering family secrets.
  2. Girl, InterruptedSusanna Kaysen
    In this memoir, Susanna Kaysen details the two years she spent in a psychiatric hospital.
  3. FlunkedFairy Tale Reform School, Book 1Jen Calonita
    After she gets caught stealing, Gilly Cobbler is sent to a boarding school run by (supposedly) reformed fairy tale...
  4. The RaftS.A. Bodeen
    After a plane crash, a young woman struggles to survive on a raft in the Pacific Ocean.
  5. Children of Virtue and VengeanceTomi Adeyemi
    In the second book of the Legacy of Or?sha trilogy, Zélie and Amari must fight the monarchy in order to protect...
  6. for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enufNtozake Shange
    In Shange's groundbreaking "choreopoem," a series of African-American women, identified only by the colors they wear,...
  7. Into the WildWarriors, Book 1Erin Hunter
    In the first book of the Warriors series, a house cat named Rusty joins up with a clan of wild cats.
  8. Henry VWilliam Shakespeare
    During the Hundred Years' War, King Henry V decides to invade France. Read the full text here.
  9. White BirdA Wonder StoryR.J. Palacio
    In this companion to Wonder, Julian's grandmother tells the story of her life in France during World War II.
  10. SnapdragonKat Leyh
    While searching for her lost dog, Snapdragon meets Jacks, an old woman who is supposedly a witch — and who has a...
  11. ThunderheadNeal Shusterman
    In the second volume of the Arc of a Scythe series, infighting and corruption among the scythes threatens to bring down...
  12. I Wish You All the BestMason Deaver
    After being thrown out of their parents' house, nonbinary teen Ben De Backer moves in with their sister and attempts to...

Literature Vocabulary Lists:

"Death of a Naturalist" by Seamus Heaney

The speaker of this poem remembers collecting frog's eggs as a child, but is repulsed by watching frog's spawn in a rotting field in the present day.
12 Words

"The Second Coming" by W.B. Yeats

In this modernist poem, Yeats uses apocalyptic imagery to characterize the state of the world after World War I.
10 Words

"The Bells" by Edgar Allan Poe

This poem by Edgar Allan Poe is notable for its masterful use of sound effects, including onomatopoeia, alliteration, and assonance.
25 Words

"The Railway Train" by Emily Dickinson

In this poem, the speaker imagines that a railway train is a living creature. Read the full text here.
15 Words

"When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d" by Walt Whitman

Whitman wrote this elegy, or poem of mourning, in response to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Here are links to our lists for other poems by Walt Whitman: Song of Myself, O Captain! My Captain!, A Noiseless Patient Spider
35 Words

"The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe

The speaker of this poem, who is mourning a lost love, is visited in the night by a raven who speaks a single word: "Nevermore." Read the full text here. Here are links to our lists for other works by Edgar Allan Poe: The Black Cat, The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Purloined Letter, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death, The Murders in the Rue Morgue
35 Words

"The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway

Santiago is a luckless Cuban fisherman who struggles to land a giant marlin. In spare, searing prose, Hemingway transforms the story of one man's battle with nature into a heroic ordeal. Here is a link to our lists for A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.
50 Words

"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Influenced by Charlotte Perkins Gilman's personal experiences, "The Yellow Wallpaper" tells the story of a woman who is forbidden from working due to "nervous depression" and begins to obsess over the unusual wallpaper in her room.
40 Words

"There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury

In this short story, science fiction writer Ray Bradbury imagines an eerie, desolate world in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion. Here are links to our lists for other works by the award-winning author: Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, A Sound of Thunder, All Summer in a Day, August 2026, Marionettes, Inc., The Black Ferris, The Drummer Boy of Shiloh, The Flying Machine, The Pedestrian, The Veldt
25 Words

"Death, be not proud" by John Donne

This poem is one of John Donne's Holy Sonnets, a series of nineteen connected poems in which Donne explores his spiritual devotion. Read the poem here. Here are links to our lists for other poems by John Donne: "The Canonization", "The Flea", "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning", "Song: Go and catch a falling star", "The Sun Rising"
14 Words

"To an Athlete Dying Young" by A. E. Housman

This poem commemorates the early death of a young athlete. The speaker notes that, because the athlete died in the prime of his life, he will always be remembered as youthful and victorious.
14 Words

"Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This narrative poem, written in a meter that recalls the sound of a galloping horse’s hooves, tells the apocryphal story of Paul Revere warning colonial Americans of a looming British invasion. Read the poem here.
25 Words

"Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou's uplifting poem affirms the power of resilience, self-love, and joy in the face of oppression. Read the poem here. Here are links to our lists for other works by Maya Angelou: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Pulse of Morning
16 Words

"Digging" by Seamus Heaney

After watching his father digging outside, the speaker of this poem compares his father's labor to his own work as a writer. Read the text here.
16 Words

"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

In Tennyson's poem, the hero Ulysses (Odysseus) has returned from his voyages but longs for new adventures. Read the text here.
32 Words

"Morning Song" by Sylvia Plath

This poem explores the alienation that the speaker feels after the birth of her baby. Read the text here.
15 Words

"A Noiseless Patient Spider" by Walt Whitman

The speaker of this poem observes a spider using its silk to explore its surroundings and then compares his soul to the title arachnid. Read the full text of the poem here.
12 Words

"Birches" by Robert Frost

The speaker of this poem recalls his childhood pastime of climbing and swinging from birch trees. Read the poem here. Here are our lists for other poems by Robert Frost: "The Death of the Hired Man", "After Apple-Picking", "Mending Wall", "Out, Out—"
22 Words

"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" by Mark Twain

In this entertaining yarn, a man who loves to gamble bets that his trained frog can out-jump any other. Here are links to our lists for other works by Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, Life on the Mississippi, A Story Without an End
30 Words

"Because I Could Not Stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson

The speaker of Dickinson’s poem imagines riding in a carriage with Death and viewing scenes out of the window. Read the text here.
15 Words

"A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift

The author of this satirical essay presents a shocking solution to the problem of poverty in Ireland. Read the full text here. Here is a link to our lists for Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift.
60 Words

"The Weary Blues" by Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was one of the leading poets of the Harlem Renaissance. The speaker of this poem describes listening to a musician play the blues. Read the full text here.
17 Words

"Dulce et Decorum Est," by Wilfred Owen

In this poem, World War I veteran Wilfred Owen describes the horrors of war. The Latin Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori means "It is sweet and proper to die for one's country."
27 Words

"A Village After Dark" by Kazuo Ishiguro

In this unsettling short story, a man returns to the village where he spent his youth. Rich with ambiguity, the text explores the uneasy relationship between the past and the present. Read the story by the Nobel Prize-winning author here.
20 Words

An Excerpt from "The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead's reimagining of African-American history, The Underground Railroad, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction on April 10, 2017. The novel had previously won the National Book Award this year as well. Even in the vocabulary from this small excerpt the reader gets a sense of Whitehead's vision and the care with which he portrays his characters. Here are 17 words from an excerpt from "The Underground Railroad".
17 Words

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