Friday, April 28, 2017

Edge of Venomverse

Read the promo sent out by Marvel comics:

Kicking off this June, EDGE OF VENOMVERSE unleashes sinister symbiotes across the Marvel Universe, wreaking untold havoc and wanton destruction! Featuring some of the most popular characters from March’s Venomized Variant Program, this in-continuity series brings you deadly new Venom combinations, giving fans dream matchups from some of comics’ hottest creators! The Marvel Universe is about to play host to an army of Venomized heroes…but whose side will they be on?! Look for more information, including characters and creators to be revealed soon! 

Based on the above passage, what might wanton mean?

a. deliberate, unprovoked, cruel
b. lightning quick
c. precise and effective
d. soft and delicious

Scroll down for the answer.

The correct answer is A.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

O.K., I admit. This post is just completely unfair.

Read the following super short story by agentoboe:

     It is quiet here. I only perceive darkness, yet it is a blessing. There is nothing to fear, nothing to hide; everything is concealed in this temporary world—a universe that, in itself, seems infinite, but inevitably will be shattered.
     Suddenly, light pierces our senses, suddenly, brutally. Our tranquility is ravaged as The Claws descend upon us. We remain silent as ever.
     I am lifted out of our sanctum. I am prepared. This is my destiny, I think, as my very being is ripped apart. With one violent twist, and I exist no longer. No I am. Just I was.

Look carefully - all the clues are here to tell us that this story is most likely told from the point of view of a(n) . . .

a. Oreo
b. little alien doll in the claw game from Toy Story
c. baby in the womb
d. flying purple space whale

Scroll down for the answer.

Let's look at the clues.  At first it is dark.  That rules out b. since the little dolls have plenty of light to see by while talking to Buzz inside of the claw game.
The Claws - this clue would seem to point to b., but we've already ruled that one out.  Since our perspective is skewed, we can assume that our narrator really doesn't understand what is happening.  The Claws can eb anything grabbing thing.  That rules out d.  And really, did you need anything to rule out d.?  A purple flying space whale??????
The last clue is the violent twist, which (hopefully) rules out the baby in the womb and leaves us with an Oreo being pulled out of the pack and being twisted to open it up to eat the creme filling first.

a. is the correct answer.  I know for certain, because the story is entitled, "Oreo."

By the way, every normal person would have said "perspective" in the question instead of "point of view".  I said it the way I did because the NCFinal likes to say "point of view" not to mean 1st, 2nd, 3rd limited, and 3rd omniscient, but rather as "perspective."

This super short story and a few more like it can be found here:

Wednesday, April 26, 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.

Tuesday, April 25, 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, April 24, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown!

Read this quote by Charlie Brown from the holiday special Happy Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown!  It occurs right after Lucy asks Charlie Brown if he would kick the football she is holding.

"Ha! You'll pull it away and I'll land flat on my back and kill myself!"

What literary term is Charlie Brown using to make his point?

a. simile
b. verbal irony
c. hyperbole
d. rhetoric device

Scroll down for the answer.

c. hyperbole is the correct answer

Friday, April 21, 2017

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.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Knight Life

Look at the following book cover:

Based on the title and the cover art, one can infer that this book is about:

a. the life of a female knight
b. King Arthur
c. a remake of the "A Knight's Tale" from Canterbury Tales
d. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Scroll down for the answer.

In order to get this answer, you have to get the allusion.  If you did not get the allusion, you could use clues to help you figure it out.  The first clue is that it is a woman's hand holding the sword.  This by itself rules out c.

Then you have to think about which of the answers really relies on a woman holding a sword.  This rules out d. (while a woman does play an important part in that story, having her hold a sword would not be an accurate portrayal of the story's content).  Now you are down to a. and b.  Since the woman does not seem to be wearing armor, a. can be ruled out, leaving b.

If you got the allusion, then you noticed that it appeared to be the lady of the lake, in which case you would have automatically chosen b.

This is a fantastic book, by the way.  Read it!