Vocab Builder: Return to Dogtown

This week, we dive back into Dogtown, a narrative nonfiction book about an area of Gloucester, MA. Don’t forget to check out the first post as well.

  • Labyrinth, noun: something extremely complicated or convoluted.

Dogtown is as much a labyrinth of stories as it is a jumble of alternating topography; I was about to discovery that it is easy to get lost in both.

  • Paterfamilias, noun: the male who heads up a household.

The Kalevala, like the Natti paterfamilias, originally came from Karelia, a heavily forested region divided between eastern Finland and Russia that is culturally distinct from western Finland.

  • Misanthrope, noun: A person who hates humanity.

Not that the Nattis were misanthropes; though Erik was an especially private individual, both he and Anne were well-liked teachers.

  • Prelapsarian, adjective: of or related to the time before humanity’s fall.

This 121-acre stretch of Dogtown woods feels prelapsarian, though every bit of it was designed, sprouted, and planted by “the professor,” as he was called.

  • Mukluk, noun: a style of soft-leather boot made and worn by Eskimos.

He did not even put on his L. L. Bean mukluks the previous September when whe walked through the forest to Anne and Erik’s wedding.

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About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug...hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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