Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Read the following poem, "Deer," by Bill Griffin.

Omigosh oh snap
oh horrors I heard it
so close too close
and way too big
might be one of those
Little Wolves I'll bet
there are two 
no ten a whole pack
oh God I just know
they bite
Oh heck, it's only
you, and you've been
looking at me
all day long
and haven't even
seen me

Why does the author have the middle of the poem consist of all lines being only one syllable long?

a. to show how still the deer is being
b. to give the poem a dumb bell shape
c. to show how fast the deer is moving
d. to symbolize the heart beats of the scared deer

Scroll down for the answer.

This poem is STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS - that is, it is written in the thought process of the narrator.  This is not a common method of writing (two books that come to mind are As I Lay Dying  and The Death of Jayson Porter.  Chances are very high that you will NOT see this term on the NCFinal (or MSL or Common Exam or Smarter Balance or whatever it is called when you see this post); however, there is a chance that it will pop up, and if it does, then you know what it means!

The deer is frightened and, as all deer do when frightened, he is standing perfectly still, shown by the slow, one syllable lines.  The correct answer is A.

This is just one of several animal related poems in Bill Griffin's book, Snake Den Ridge: A Bestiary.  He is a North Carolina poet and you should check out his other works at his blog:

Monday, October 16, 2017

A Fable

Read the following fable by Aesop:

TWO neighbours came before Jupiter and prayed him to grant their hearts’ desire. Now the one was full of avarice, and the other eaten up with envy. So to punish them both, Jupiter granted that each might have whatever he wished for himself, but only on condition that his neighbour had twice as much. The Avaricious man prayed to have a room full of gold. No sooner said than done; but all his joy was turned to grief when he found that his neighbour had two rooms full of the precious metal. Then came the turn of the Envious man, who could not bear to think that his neighbour had any joy at all. So he prayed that he might have one of his own eyes put out, by which means his companion would become totally blind.

What is most likely the moral of this story?

a. Be careful what you wish for.
b. Vices are their own punishment.
c. To be envious is better than to be greedy.
d. It is better to give than to receive.

Scroll down for the answer.

a. is incorrect.  The first man gets his wish for a room full of gold .  There is nothing wrong with it.  He can't enjoy it because he is so greedy that he can't stand for his neighbor to have more.  This is the best wrong answer.
b. is correct.  See above.  The greedy man can't enjoy his own wish because somebody has more.  The envious man wastes his wish on losing an eye so that his neighbor would lose both.  It was their own vices that led to their unhappiness.
c. is incorrect.  This is completely wrong.  Both are bad and neither is praised over the other.
d. is incorrect.  It is nice, but the only giving here is punishments.

Friday, October 13, 2017

What? What?

Look at this cartoon strip:

What is most likely the word that was blanked out in the last panel?

a. something profane
b. "bingo"
c. "irony"
d. no word was there, just ". . ."

Scroll down for the answer.

O.K., this shouldn't have been too hard.  Let's stop and think.  A teacher is putting this up, so chances are that he is not going to put something profane on the site.  So we can rule out A.  Irony is something unexpected and it would be unexpected that an irony detector detects everything but irony, so C. is a good answer.  While it might look as if he is repeating her last word, "Bingo" makes no sense, so we can rule out B.  D. would only work if the cartoonist was expecting you to figure out the joke, so it might could work.  So we have b, which works, and d, which might would work.  Always go with the sure thing.  C. is the correct answer.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Incredible Journey

Watch this ad that was pulled from the Superbowl 2015:

What literary term is driving the humor and impact of this ad?

a. paradox
b. metaphor
c. situational irony
d. archetype

Scroll down for the answer.

c. is the correct answer.  Situational irony is when the unexpected happens.  Since we expect this be a heart warming feel good ad the sudden twist at the end leaves it memorable.  The other thing driving this ad is allusion since it is playing off of a similar ad that played the year before for a different company.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Martian

Read the following excerpt from Andy Weir's novel The Martian.  The protagonist has been stranded on Mars and has been keep a log of his thoughts and actions while stuck there.  This excerpt begins with NASA officials trying to figure out how to get him home and end with one of the protagonist's log entries.

     "Any idea on how to keep him alive for four years?"
     "Work on that, too."
     "Will do," Venkat said.
     Teddy swiveled his chair and looked out the window to the sky beyond.  Night was edging in.  "What must it be like?" he pondered.  "He's stuck out there.  He thinks he's totally alone and that we all gave up on him.  What kind of effect does that have on a man's psychology?"
     He turned back to Venkat.  "I wonder what he's thinking right now."

     How come Aquaman can control whales?  They're mammals! Makes no sense.

What literary device is being used for humorous effect?

a. juxtaposition
b. allusion
c. pun
d. rhetorical device

Scroll down for the answer.

a. is correct.  Juxtaposition is the placing of one scene right next to the other scene.  Here we follow up on a serious issue with a silly one for humorous effect.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Polar Night

Read the following passage from "Polar Night" by Norah Burke. The story is about a female polar bear who is getting ready for winter. At this point in the story, she has just killed a seal and heard a noise. She hid and this is what happens next:

Presently she saw upright seals coming along the shore. They were rather rare creatures, these, and dangerous for all they were so weak. The places they lived had light and noise, and smelled of good food. The she-bear often drew near the places, attracted by those smells. She hunted these land-seals too, and ate them when she could. They were not like the sea-seals, though. They wore seal fur, and their skins were rubbed with seal blubber, but there was a different taste inside.

Based on this passage, the term "land-seal" probably means:

a. sea lions
b. leopard seals
c. some unknown animals
d. humans

Scroll down for the answer...


The correct answer is d. humans.  We get this because these creatures have lights and are dangerous.  The only creatures to create light that can also be a threat to polar bears are humans.  The fact that they are referred to as "seals" in any capacity comes from the fact that the perspective is from a bear who does not understand everything.  

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Running Man

Read this passage from The Running Man by Richard Bachman:

    "Oh dear God," Amelia Williams moaned.
    Richards looked down at himself casually.  His entire right side, from ribcage to calf, was bright and sparkling red.
    "Who would have thought the old man had so much blood in him?" Richards said.

What literary term is the last line said by Richards?

a. allusion
b. cliche
c. personification
d. metaphor

In reality, Richard Bachman turned out to be a pen name for Stephen King.

Scroll down for the answer.

a. is the correct answer.  It is difficult to pick out allusions (this one came from Macbeth) if you have not read the text that is alluded to, so you probably would have to have ruled out the other answers to figure this one out.
b. a cliche is a worn out phrase.  Since you are probably not familiar with this line, you can rule out cliche.
c. and d. are literary terms you are probably familiar with.  There is no nonhuman thing getting human characteristics and there is no comparison, so they are clearly not the right answer.