Friday, February 14, 2020

My Pretty Rose Tree

Read the following poem by William Blake:

My Pretty Rose Tree

A flower was offered to me,
Such a flower as May never bore;
But I said, 'I've a pretty rose tree,'
And I passed the sweet flower o'er.

Then I went to my pretty rose tree,
To tend her by day and by night;
But my rose turned away with jealousy,
And her thorns were my only delight.

Why is the speaker's "only delight" the thorns of the rose tree?

a. the speaker is not fond of flowers, which is why he passed over the flower offered him
b. the speaker's girlfriend/wife is upset with him because of another woman is hitting on him
c. the speaker is a bitter old man with nothing but memories of better days
d. the speaker should have taken the rose offered
e. who the heck knows?


Scroll down for the answer.

In this poem, the rose is symbolic of a woman.  One woman offered herself to him and he refused because he is faithful to his wife/girlfriend.  However, his wife/girlfriend is jealous and this causes problems in their relationship.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Burn Baby Burn

Read the following excerpt from Fahrenheit 451.  This is a book written in the 1950s that takes place in our future.

The little mosquito-delicate dancing hum in the air, the electrical murmur of a hidden wasp snug in its special pink warm nest. The music was almost loud enough so he could follow the tune.

Without turning on the light he imagined how this room would look. His wife stretched on the bed, uncovered and cold, like a body displayed on the lid of the tomb, her eyes fixed in the ceiling by invisible threads of steel, immovable. And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind. The room was indeed empty. Every night the waves came in and bore her off on their great tides of sound, floating her, wide-eyed, toward morning. There had been no night in the last two years that Mildred had not swum that sea, had not gladly gone down in it for the third time.

What is the purpose of the metaphor in this passage?

a. to explain how Mildred drowned
b. to show that Mildred cannot swim
c. to explain how Mildred listens to music
d. to show Mildred's unique fashion sense

Scroll down for the answer.

This is a typical NCFinal three part question. Part one, do you know what a metaphor is?  Part two, can you find the metaphor?  Part three do you understand what the metaphor means?  

The ocean is a metaphor showing how distant Mildred is when she uses the "seashell" radio.  Basically Ray Bradbury is envisioning ear buds way back in the 1950s.  Know that you know that, the other metaphor, the mosquito, makes more sense as well and adds to the understanding.  
C. is the correct answer.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Approval Ratings

Look at the picture below:

Using the headline, what is this an example of?

a. satire
b. irony
c. rhetorical device
d. idiom

Scroll down for the answer.

a. is the correct answer.  Read the article at:,34163/

Friday, February 7, 2020

I Wonder Where She Got Them?

Read the following very short story:

My Daughter Learned to Count

My daughter woke me around 11:50 last night. My wife and I had picked her up from her friend Sally’s birthday party, brought her home, and put her to bed. My wife went into the bedroom to read while I fell asleep watching the Braves game.

“Daddy,” she whispered, tugging my shirt sleeve. “Guess how old I’m going to be next month.”

“I don’t know, beauty,” I said as I slipped on my glasses. “How old?”
She smiled and held up four fingers.

It is 7:30 now. My wife and I have been up with her for almost 8 hours. She still refuses to tell us where she got them.

What literary term does the author use to make this a horror story?

a. suspense
b. foreshadowing
c. imagery
d. situational irony

Scroll down for the answer.

a. is incorrect.  Suspense is often used to create horror stories, but not in this case.  
b. is incorrect.  There is nothing to hint at where the story is going.
c. is incorrect.  While imagery is often used in horror movies, it is not being used here
d. is correct.  It is unexpected that the little girl isn't just holding up the four fingers on her own hand. 

Want to read more freaky very short horror stories?  

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Did you ever think when a hearse goes by...

Read the following passage from Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and answer the question:

Mr. Vandemar, on the other hand, simply walked. It was too consistent, too steady and inexorable a walk to be described as a stroll: Death walks like Mr. Vandemar.

Which literary device represents Death?

a. allusion
b. hyperbole
c. tone
d. personification

Scroll down for the answer.


Answer: D - one of the clues that alerts the reader of personification is that sometimes the thing personified will be capitalized (like Death here).  This is not always the case, but when you see something like Death or Time capitalized, then think personification.

Thanks to Ms. Parsons for this question!  I was trying to come up with some clever thing to say about Death and her class, but nothing really seemed to work (they were all either cheesy, morbid, or both), so... :(

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

I Have No Words for This

Look at the picture below:

This is an example of which literary term?

a. situational irony
b. dramatic irony
c. verbal irony
d. pun

Scroll down for the answer.

The only irony in that picture is that it looks like it is about irony but there is no irony in it.  This is a pun.  d. is the correct answer.