Thursday, September 19, 2019

I Am the Iron Fist

Look at this panel from the first appearance of Marvel's Iron Fist:

What is the purpose of writing these captions in 2nd person point of view?

a. to mimic Asian writing styles
b. to make the reader feel like he or she is the main character
c. second person is the traditional style used to write comics
d. the point of view is awkward, so it shows that Iron Fist will be a fallen hero or villain as the series progresses.

Scroll down for the answer.


a. is a problematic answer because how many of you know enough about Asian literature to know if second person point of view is popular or not?  The state test, for all of its unfairness, usually does not ask a question that requires knowledge outside of the text to answer.  The big exception is mythological allusions.
b. is the correct answer.  Often writers will use first person to achieve this since second person is so unwieldy.
c. is wrong for the same reason a. is wrong
d. Nope.  Nope. Nope.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Money, money, money! MONEY!

Read these two quotes:

Wall Street has turned the economy into a giant asset-stripping scheme, one whose purpose is to suck the last bits of meat from the carcass of the middle class.    - Matt Taibi

Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you are not rich, blame yourself!  - Herman Cain

What literary term and purpose do the words, "Wall Street" serve in these quotes?

a. imagery - to give an image of the actual street and buildings in New York
b. personification - makes it seem as if the actual streets and buildings are working there
c. connotation - to represent the powerful and wealthy, no matter where they may live or work
d. apostrophe - since the street cannot talk back.

Scroll down for the answer.

c. is correct.  Connotation is the feeling that is associated with the word.  Words often have positive or negative connotations (for example, 'execute' and 'slaughter' both mean 'to kill', but 'execute' connotates a formal, perhaps legal process while 'slaughter' gives the feeling of wild, bloody, out of control killings.  In these quotes, the connotation is that Wall Street is the place of wealth and power. 

Monday, September 16, 2019

Haiku (Bless you)

Read this haiku from Basho:

Sick on my journey,
only my dreams will wander
these desolate moors

This poem is about:

a. traveling
b. death
c. birth
d. being sick on vacation

Scroll down for the answer.

The answer here lies with understanding that traveling is often symbolizes life's journey.  In this case, the author is approaching the end of his life's journey and sadly thinks that only his dreams will live on.  The correct answer is B.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Crazy about a . . .

Watch the commercial:

Based on the allusion presented in the commercial, we can assume that a rival for Mercedes is:

a. Mercury
b. BMW
c. Lexus
d. Cadillac

Scroll down for the answer.

a. is the correct answer.  This should be pretty easy allusion to get.  The state test will often shy away from allusions because it relies on you knowing something outside of the text.  However, allusions to mythology are fair game, as it is expected that everyone is familiar with basic classical mythology.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Smile! Someone May Be Taking Your Picture

Read this headline from the Indy:

A Crack in Google Glass: Wearable Technology's Glassault on Privacy

In the above headline, which literary device is being used to express the author's tone?

a. Alliteration - "Google Glass"
b. Imagery - "Wearable Technology"
c. Dramatic Irony - "Privacy"
d. Pun - "Glassault"

Scroll down for the answer.

d. is correct.  It is making a play on the word "assault" which has a negative connotation, thus revealing the author's view of the ability to photograph, record, and video people without their permission.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Read the poem below by Emily Dickinson - 

"Hope" is the thing with feathers --
That perches in the soul --
And sings the tune without the words --
And never stops -- at all --

What is the literary term that drives the meaning of this poem?

a. metaphor
b. simile
c. repetition
d. allusion

Scroll down for the answer.

a. is correct.  We do not have what the complete comparison is, but we should be able to figure out that Hope is being compared to a bird.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Tom Sawyer

Read the following passage from Tom Sawyer:

“[They] covered themselves with dust and glory.”

The above line is an example of:

a. zeugma
b. dramatic irony
c. hyperbole
d. alliteration

Scroll down for the answer.

The correct answer is a. zeugma.  What the heck is zeugma?  It doesn't matter.  There is no dramatic irony going on.  There is no hyperbole.  There is no alliteration.  The only time you guess a word you do not know is when you know all the other answers are false.  In this case, you should have been able to recognize all the other answers as false and, with some trepidation, picked zeugma.

Still think I made it up?  Look here for a thorough explanation of zeugma: