Monday, March 19, 2018

Walk This Way

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 of the following words is closest to the meaning of inexorable?

a. merciful
b. relentless
c. resentful
d. hungry

Scroll down for the answer.


B. The context clues - "simply," "consistent," "steady" - lead to relentless rather than resentful. A and D are just wrong.

Thanks goes to Ms. Parsons for this question.  Her students may not know this about her, but before she became a teacher, she played Belle in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast.  You should ask her about that at some point - just not during the the state test....

Friday, March 16, 2018

Good Boy?

The following image is an example of which literary term?

a. Pun
b. Irony
c. Hyperbole
d. External Conflict

Scroll down for the answer.

The answer is b. irony because it is unexpected for the dog to chew the bottle of chew preventive.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

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:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Made You Look!

Read the following passage from We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach:

Peter had been to state twice and nationals once. Been given a sweet Jeep for his sixteenth birthday, and ended up good and wasted at about a hundred crazy-fun parties. And now he was eighteen. In the fall, he’d be off to sunny California. And seriously, how sick was college going to be? Pledging some frat and playing ball all over the country and partying with his teammates and frat brothers every weekend. Then he’d go pro if he were lucky, or else get into coaching or something, and he and Stacy would get married and raise some kids and hit up Baja or TJ on Christmas breaks and buy a sweet summer place on Lake Chelan with a Jacuzzi. 

What is the author’s attitude toward Peter?

a. Scornful
b. Disdainful
c. Mocking
d. Aggravated

Scroll down for the answer.


Answer: c. The author realizes that Peter's goals are shallow and rather insignificant.

Thanks to Ms. Parsons for this question!  You know, a good tip for the state test is to look up.  After you've finished the questions and before you start the next passage, look up and give your poor eyes a break!

Monday, March 12, 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.

Friday, March 9, 2018

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:

Monday, March 5, 2018

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?