The Long Valley - Key Terms

Setting | Character Summaries | Plot Synopsis | Critical Reception
Cultural References | Key Terms and Concepts


"The Chrysanthemums"

Planting Hands: Elisa Allen's term for her innate gardening abilities.


Manhood: Pepé is in the transitional phase between child and adult.  He seeks to become a man, though he does not really know what that means.  He begins his journey through his loss of innocence in Monterey and finally becomes a man when, battered and beaten by the natural environment, he courageously stands and faces his pursuers.

"The Snake"

Petcock: Small valve used to control the flow of liquids or gas.


Dungarees: Blue denim work clothes.

"The Raid"

Labor Organization:  Dick and Root are labor organizers for the Communist Party.  The Communist Party was very active in the United States in the 1920s and 30s as it sought to expand its influence by organizing millions of displaced workers during The Great Depression.  "Reds" or "radicals," as they were often referred to, were beaten, jailed, and driven from town to town for causing unrest.  Primarily they were despised as traitors since Communism was seen as the great enemy of democracy in the United States. 

 "Johnny Bear"

Bung-Starter: A mallet used for opening a cask or keg of beer.

Clam-Shell Digger: Two attached shovels or scoops that face each used for excavating.

Dead Man: An anchor.

Pontoon: A flat-bottomed boat or portable float used in building a floating temporary bridge.

Reclamation District: An area designated by the government to be protected from flooding or environmental degradation (in this case swamp land).

"The Murder"

Buckboard: A four wheeled wagon designed to be pulled by horses.

 "Saint Katy the Virgin"

Excommunication: Expulsion or suspension from a specific religion.

Exorcism: A controversial Catholic ritual for expelling demons or evil spirits that have taken possession of a person's soul.

Reliquary: Also referred to as a shrine, chasse, or monstrance, a reliquary is a depository for relics—usually the remains of saints, or objects or clothing worn or touched by saints, that are believed to possess healing or great spiritual properties.

Tithe: Traditionally a tenth of one's possessions given in charity to the church.

Setting | Character Summaries | Plot Synopsis | Critical Reception
Cultural References | Key Terms and Concepts