Vocabulary in Zone One

In class two weeks ago, we discussed Colson Whitehead’s Fantastic use of vocabulary in Zone One. After compiling a plethora of unfamiliar words onto the whiteboard, I began to admire the English language. Despite growing up and speaking English my whole life, there were many words that I didn’t recognize. I find it intriguing that there are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, but just by placing letters in a different order you can create an abundance of words. I also like the idea that there can be multiple meanings to a word.

This is evident with the word “menagerie” which can can be defined as “a place where animals are kept and trained especially for exhibition” or “a varied mixture”.

I also thought it was interesting that our backgrounds can determine what words and vocabulary were are well acquainted with. Last week, a student wasn’t familiar with the word “emporium“. Having grown up in a different time period than the student, Professor McCoy was able to easily identify and define the word. This also was evident among the rest of the students. Words that some students didn’t know, other students could easily define. Regardless of this, everyone in class remained understanding of each other and eager to learn.  Rather than being judgmental, the class used their knowledge to help each other rather than hurt each other.

Going off of Sarah’s post, Defining Vocabulary or a Deeper Understanding, it is evident that  that the purpose of this class activity was not solely to define words. This exercise was meant to help the class work together and to help us comprehend Zone One in a complex and deep way.

Although the characters in Zone One all have different backgrounds, they came together for the same cause. Like Kaitlyn, Gary, and Mark Spitz, we came together inclass in order to obtain a better understanding of Racism and Medicine (or vocabulary in this specific case).



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