Friday, April 16, 2021

Would You Look Up in a Box? Would You with a Fox?


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

And then there was the setting, crepuscular and shadowy, everything about it perfectly calibrated for creativity, from the sultry red glow of the darkroom lights to the still and shallow pool in which her prints rested like dead leaves on the surface of a pond.

Based on the above passage, which of the following words is the best synonym for crepuscular?

a. Luminous
b. Cheerful
c. Lugubrious 
d. Darkened

Scroll down for the answer.

Answer: d. darkened. Crepuscular means "of, relating to, or resembling twilight; dim; indistinct." Since the author is discussing a photography dark room, darkened is the best synonym. The best wrong answer is c. lugubrious, because some do associate a gloomy quality with twilight. 

Thanks for the question, Ms. Parsons!  Now about that book cover.  For some reason, on the Internet, there are several book covers of other famous books with this title and author.  I'm not sure why.  If anyone knows, leave a comment!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

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, April 14, 2021

I Thought It Was a Punctuation Mark

Read the following words spoken by Macbeth in the play aptly named Macbeth.  He is on his way to the king's room to kill him when he sees a dagger floating in the air in front of him:

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand?
Come, let me clutch thee!
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.

What is the purpose of the apostrophe in the above lines?

a. to show which weapon Macbeth will use to commit a murder
b. to show Macbeth's unstable state of mind
c. to provide imagery for the audience to envision the background
d. to show that Macbeth is not a killer

Scroll down for the answer.

Two things are helpful in getting this question correct.  One is having read the story previously and the other is to know what an apostrophe is.  An apostrophe is speaking to an object that has no capacity to respond (similar but the not the same as personification).  Knowing this will lead you to think that if he is talking to a dagger that floats before him and cannot be touched, he must be freaking out.  That will bring you to either b. or d.  If you've read the story, you know that Macbeth is indeed a killer.  He starts the play by chopping a man in half.  The correct answer is b.  

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

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, April 12, 2021

One who loved not wisely, but too well

 Look at the Othello poster below:

Based in the poster above, one of the themes of Othello is:
a. jealousy
b. hatred
c. fidelity
d. love

Scroll down for the answer.

All of the answers are basic themes in Othello, but only one of them can be inferred from the poster.  The question clearly states "Based on the poster...."  With that in mind, we can see the green eye of the man in the poster and since green eyes are symbolic of jealousy, the correct answer is a.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Did You Ever Think as 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... :(

Thursday, April 8, 2021

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?