Friday, December 6, 2019

When Was That?

Read this excerpt from Hatchet:

He had been riding his ten-speed with a friend named Terry.  They had been taking a run on a bike trail and decided to come back a different way, a way that took them past the Amber Mall.  Brian remembered everything in incredible detail.  Remembered the time on the bank clock in the mall, flashing 3:31, then the temperature, 82, and the date.  All the numbers were a part of his memory, all of his life was a part of the memory.

What is the purpose of leaving out the date when the other details are given?

a. The author wants to avoid giving too much detail which might bore the reader.
b. The author doesn't want the book to go too long.
c. The author wants the book to seem like modern day to the reader.
d. The date is not important.

Scroll down for the answer.

a. is incorrect.  Details are important here to show that Brian remembers everything.
b. is incorrect.  Giving a date would not make the book noticeably longer.
c. is correct.  By not giving a date (specifically the year) the reader assumes it is modern day.  This is a common technique for authors.
d. is incorrect.  The date is just as important as the time and the temperature.

The film "A Cry in the Wild" was made based on this novel.  Here's the movie trailer clip -

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Martian

In the following passage from Andy Weir's novel The Martian, we have excerpts from the protagonist's daily journal that he is using to record his efforts to survive.  The protagonist has been stranded on Mars and presumed dead.  He is trying to keep the equipment he has running and generate enough food and water to keep him alive until someone can rescue him.  Read the following selection:

     I've now grown accustomed to hearing the alarms blare at all times.  The fire alarm has finally stopped, now that there's no more fire.  The low oxygen alarm should stop soon.  The high humidity alarm will take a little longer.  The water reclaimer has its work cut out for today.
     For a moment, there was yet another alarm.  The water reclaimer's main tank was full.  Booyah! That's the kind of problem I want to have!
     Remember the space suit I vandalized yesterday?I hung it on its rack and carried buckets of water to it from the reclaimer. It can hold an atmosphere of air.  It should be able to handle a few buckets of water.
     Man I'm tired.  Been up all night, and it's time to sleep.  But I'll drift off to dreamland in the best mood I've been in since Sol 6.
   Things are finally going my way.  In fact, they're going great!  I have a chance to live after all!

     I am screwed, and I'm going to die!

What literary term is the author using to increase the intensity and suspense?

a. imagery
b. dramatic irony
c. foreshadowing
d. juxtaposition

Scroll down for the answer.

a. is incorrect.  While there is some imagery involved, it is not being used to create suspense or intensity.
b. is incorrect.  We do not know what the protagonist doesn't know.
c. is incorrect.  While there may be some foreshadowing going on, we do not have enough of the text to see if it develops into anything.  
d. is correct.  Juxtaposition is when change in two different scenes has meaning.  Here, we are all set up to think that things are finally working for him.  Then the next entry shows differently. 

O.K., I admit.  I changed a word in order to make it appropriate for all the young impressionable children out there.  I hang my head in censorship shame.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

She sells seashells, too.

​Read the following:

Wallace walked wearily while wondering where Wendal was.

What literary device does this sentence rely on?

A. Simile
B. Alliteration
C. Hyperbole
D. Personification

Scroll down for the answer.


The correct Answer is B.

Thanks to Ezra for this excellent and egregiously terribly twisty tongue teaser. If you want more tongue twisters, try this site:

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

I Loved Him in Die Hard

Read the passage below from

Young Bruce Willis: Wild Man
Bruce Willis was a wild man even in his high school years. Despite serving as student council president, he was expelled for three months for his role in a school cafeteria riot. And, at the height of the streaking craze, Willis was the only kid in town brazen enough to run naked - right down Main Street.

The author chose to put the bold-faced phrase into the story because the author:

a. does not like the student council.
b. feels like a student council president should know better.
c. feels it makes Bruce Willis's actions seem even wilder since he was student council president.
d. needed more information to make the story long enough.

Scroll down for the answer.

These types of questions are common on the EOC.  They require that you stop and think about what the author was trying to do.  This can be difficult at times.  In the case, the correct answer is c. because the author is trying to point out that this isn't just the class clown, this is the student council president.  To the author, this makes Bruce Willis's actions seem even wilder.


Monday, December 2, 2019


Look at the following panel from Amazing Spider-Man #197:

Pay attention to the Kingpin's first speech bubble:
Must I repeat Samuel Clemens' oft-quoted line?

Why doesn't he repeat the often quoted line?
a. He does, it is in the next speech bubble at the bottom of the panel.
b. The author feels that everyone should know the line in question and so it doesn't need to be repeated.
c. There is not enough room in the panel for the quote.
d. The quote was copyrighted and could not be re-printed without permission from Samuel Clemens.

Scroll down for the answer.

a. is incorrect. 
b. is correct.  Samuel Clemens is the real name of Mark Twain.  Many of Twain's quotes are well known and usually do not have to be repeated completely for people to recognize it.  
c. is incorrect.  
d. is incorrect.  No copyright is needed to quote someone as long as you acknowledge that it is someone else's words.


Monday, November 25, 2019

Look Closely

Look at the following logo:

This is an example of:

a. archetype
b. hyperbole
c. allusion
d. alliteration

Scroll down for the answer.

c. is correct.  The winged foot in the middle is a reference to Hermes, Greek god of messengers.  He is really, really fast and so it Goodyear.