Friday, September 21, 2018

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.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Look, in the sky! It's a bird. It's a plane! It's Superman!

Look at the comic book panels below.  Batman and Robin are trapped and cannot free themselves, then...

This example of poor story telling is an example of which literary device?

a. rhetorical device
b. deus ex machina
c. extended metaphor
d. verisimilitude

Scroll down for the answer.

We have several terms that you may not be familiar with.
Rhetorical Device - anything that makes the reader look at the text from a different perspective
Deus Ex Machina - a plot device that appears only to help a character out of a sticky situation
Extended Metaphor - a metaphor that keeps going through a long passage
Verisimiltude - resembling truth

Of these, the only one that fits is b. deus ex machina.  This plot device often cheapens the story so much, that it is rarely used by good writers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

This Is Not the Post You're Looking For

Read this six word novel by Steven Meretzky:

Leia: "Baby's yours."

Luke: "Bad news…"

What literary term drives the humor in this story?

a. alliteration
b. allusion
c. verbal irony
d. hyperbole

Scroll down for the answer.

The answer cannot be a, even though there is alliteration in the story.  The alliteration is not humorous in this case.  It cannot be c because nothing is said that means something else. d is just flat wrong.
In order to get this joke, you must know the story of Star Wars and that Luke and Leia were in love until they found out that they were siblings.  The answer is B.

Monday, September 17, 2018

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.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Spidey Kicks Butt

Read the following taken from "Top Ten Spider-Man Stories" by J. R. Fettinger:

I was reluctant to list ["The Boy Who Collected Spider-Man"] because it is blatantly emotionally manipulative. Also Wizard put it on their top 10, and I wanted to duplicate their list as little as possible. Spider-Man fulfills the wish of a dying boy by visiting him in the hospital and simply spending some time talking to him, including answering the question "Who are you really, Spider-Man?" Yep. Spidey stares out the window for a moment of contemplation before pulling off his mask and telling the boy his real name.

Based on the above passage, what would be a good word to replace "blatantly"?

a. boringly
b. subtly 
c. obviously
d. detrimentally

Scroll down for the answer.

The way to figure this out if you are not already familiar with the word blatantly to to look at the context.  Mr. Fettinger did not want to include it on the list because it was emotionally manipulative.  Well, a lot of stories can be emotionally manipulative and still be good, so there must be something about this one that makes it almost bad.  Of the answer choices, obviously manipulative is one that most people frown on.  We don't want the author's purpose to be obvious, we want it to surprise us, to grab us before we realize it.  Therefore c. is the correct answer.

If you are a fan of Spidey, check out the entire article at:

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

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.

Monday, September 10, 2018

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.