"The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P.T. Barnum" By Candace Fleming November/December 2016 AR Biography Activity

"Go farther, wait longer, work harder and contrive deeper to carry out a (prank) than for anything else under heaven" (Pg. 9)

Based upon the context clues, the word "contrive" means to bring forth a plan or idea.

"The next morning, Tale was headed to school when John leaped out in front of him. 'I could feel his breath upon my face,' said Tale,'and looking me square in the eye, he exclaimed,'Mr. Taylor Barnum, it seems I owe you a licking.' Then John took off his coat, and 'in less than two minutes I was pretty well pummeled.'" (Page 14)

Based upon the context clues, the word "pummeled" means to be beaten or hit.

"In Barnum's days, showmen commonly exhibited unusual people like joice for money. Some of these exhibits were dehumanizing events where audiences stared and jeered. But others were in a different class. The audience would meet the unusual person in a respectable, respectful setting." (Page 24)

Based upon the context clues, the word "dehumanizing" means to deprive someone of their human qualities.

"But gossip was spreading. Some people claimed that Barnum had forced the old woman to memorize the Washington stories. Others asserted that he had pulled out all her teeth to make her look even older. Still others suggested that he had created the ancient-looking bill of sale himself by spitting tobacco juice on it. The New York Herald called the Joice Heth episode 'one of the most heinous hoaxes ever imposed on an incredulous community,' and the mayor of New York declared , 'We have been duped!' From that time on, Barnum's name would be linked with hoaxes and fakery." (Page 27)

Based upon the context clues, the word "incredulous" means somthing that is hard to believe.

"In forty glass and marble cases swam a rainbow of tropical fish. There were sharks and a six-foot electric eel, as well as a live crocodile, dozens of lizards, and 'turtles of varying types and sizes.' Old Neptune, Barnum's famous Pacific sea lion, lived here, too. Described in the guidebook as "the mos Majestic, Terrific, yet docile inhabitant of the Great Deep,' Old Neptune could balance a ball on the end of is nose, play a tune on his tin horn, and clap for fish scraps tossed by the audience." (Page 46)

Based upon the context clues, the word "docile" means to be ready to learn new things.

"If Barnum could not get his hands on a genuine curiosity for his museum, he had no problem making one up. He often mislabeled displays, claiming that the ordinary items were really historically important artifacts. Thus a wooden club was transformed into 'the very one that killed the esteemed captain Cook.' A boat oar 'the very tool with which Miles Standish himself rowed his fellow pilgrims to our great American shores.' (Page 54)

Based upon the context clues, the word "esteemed" means somthing is respected or is show affection.

"Barnum's first big humbug was committed in 1842--' a pivotal year in my life,' he later noted. Not only had he opened his museum that year, but in May, Charity had given birth to their third daughter, Frances Irena. Then in June, Barnum heard an amazing story from a Boston museum owner named Moses Kimball that would forever establish the showman's reputation for humbuggery." (Page 56)

Based upon the context clues, the word "Pivotal" means somthing of high importance.

"Tom Thumb and Lavinia Warren were married on February 19, 1863, in New York City. Even though crowds clamored to attend this unusual event Barnum gave the couple a dignified private wedding at Grace Episcopal Church. Afterward, a reception was held at the Metropolitan Hotel, where the bride and groom had to stand on a grand piano to greet their guests." (Page 69)

Based upon the context clues, the word "clamored" means an uproar from a group of people.




Created with images by FranksValli - "Incredulous Tom Hughes-Croucher" • garryknight - "Last Chance Harvey: Clamouring Fans"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.