Study S1 English English - Text 2 Skills Literacy Devices - Geniebook

Text 2 Skills: Literary Devices

In this article, we will be looking into literary devices. We will be learning about metaphors & similes, personification, hyperboles and onomatopoeia specifically.
 

Figure Of Speech 1: Personification

The attribution of human nature or character to animals, inanimate objects, or abstract notions, especially as a rhetorical figure.

The representation of a thing or abstraction in the form of a person, as in art.

 

Examples Of Personification 

What are the objects being personified in these examples?

Identify the words which are used to personify these objects. 

  • Lightning danced across the sky.
  • The wind howled in the dark.
  • The truck complained as the key was roughly turned in its ignition.
  • Rebecca heard the last piece of cake calling her name.
  • My alarm clock yells at me to get out of bed every morning.
  • The avalanche devoured anything standing in its way.
  • The door protested as it opened slowly.
  • My house is a friend who protects me.
  • The moon played hide and seek with the storm clouds.
  • The approaching car's headlights winked at John.
 

These are the words used to personify the objects, as indicated in blue.

  • Lightning danced across the sky.
  • The wind howled in the dark.
  • The truck complained as the key was roughly turned in its ignition.
  • Rebecca heard the last piece of cake calling her name.
  • My alarm clock yells at me to get out of bed every morning.
  • The avalanche devoured anything standing in its way.
  • The door protested as it opened slowly.
  • My house is a friend who protects me.
  • The moon played hide and seek with the storm clouds.
  • The approaching car's headlights winked at John.

 

Figure Of Speech 2: Hyperbole

Exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.

Often used to make something sound much bigger/better than it actually is or to make something sound much more dramatic.

Hyperboles can also be used to make something sound much worse than it actually is.

 

Examples Of Hyperbole

  • Thomas is so hungry he could eat a horse.
  • I’ve stockpiled enough food to feed an entire army.
  • Mr. K’s class is taking an eternity to end.
  • It’s impossible to complete this puzzle.
  • The long weekend is never going to arrive.
  • I’ve read this book a thousand times.
  • My hand hurts so much it’s going to drop off.
  • The wrestler is stronger than iron.
  • Your brain is the size of a pea.
  • I’m so sad that I’m drowning in tears.
  • The leaves are dancing in the breeze.

 

Figure Of Speech 3: Onomatopoeia

Onomatopoeia is a figure of speech in which words evoke the actual sound of the thing they refer to or describe. 

Pronunciation: on-uh-mat-uh-pee-uh

 

Examples of Onomatopoeia

  • The sheep went, “Baa.”
  • The best part about music class is that you can bang on the drum.
  • It is not unusual for a dog to bark when it sees strangers.
  • Silence your mobile phone so that it does not beep during the movie.
  • Derrick released a belch from the pit of his stomach.
  • The bridge collapsed, creating a tremendous boom.
  • The huge German Shepherd said, “Bow-wow!”
  • My sister can burp the alphabet.
  • Both bees and buzzers buzz.
  • The cash register popped open with a heart warming ca-ching.
  • Her heels clacked on the hardwood floor.


 

Practice Questions

 

Passage 1:

In the text below, Danny is being held in the detention room for the third time in a week.

 

Danny sighed. He looked at the four gray walls confining him and then up at the slowly spinning ceiling fan. He was so bored that he began to count the fan rotations per minute. He was the sole person in the detention room yet again. This was the third consecutive time in one week that he had been given detention for some misdeed or another. He could not remember which school rule he had broken, nor did he care to. Sluggishly turning his head to the left, he looked at the wall clock. 3:02 p.m. Time seemed to crawl by when he was in this dreadful place.

 

Question 1:

Identify the phrase which suggests that time is a person. What effect does it achieve?

 

Which of the following words has a similar meaning to sluggishly?

 

  1. Depressingly
  2. Lethargically
  3. Conveniently
  4. Quietly

 

Answer:

The phrase is "time seemed to crawl by". It emphasises just how slowly time seemed to pass in the detention room. 

Explanation:

Personification happens when an inanimate object or an animal is given human qualities (abilities/emotions/characteristics). In order to explain personification, you must first explain the human quality then link it to the inanimate object or animal. Time is an abstract concept, yet it is described as physically moving (crawl) as if it were a living thing. Personification is used here to emphasise how time seemed to drag on in that detention room.

 

Passage 2:

My father had not seen his grandmother for nearly a year. Finally, the day arrived when they were to be reunited.

“Grandma! It is such a pleasure to see you in the flesh again!” My father dashed to where the old lady was standing on the train platform and nearly broke the little old woman in half.

 

Question 2:

Identify the hyperbole used in the given excerpt. Explain its effectiveness.

 

Which word emphasises the writer’s father’s enthusiasm to see his grandmother?

 

  1. Pleasure
  2. Dashed
  3. Reunited
  4. Broke

 

Answer:

The hyperbole used is "nearly broke the little old woman in half". (1m) It is effective in conveying that the writer's father embraced his grandmother extremely tightly. 

Explanation:

A hyperbole is a figure of speech that uses exaggeration or overstatement to emphasise a certain effect. In this context, it is used to emphasise the tightness of the embrace. It does NOT literally mean that the old woman was nearly broken in half.

 

Passage 3:

Megan kept glancing at her watch every now and then. She twirled her hair around her fingers. Mr. Smith's Science lesson was taking an eternity to end.

 

Question 3:

Identify the hyperbole used in the given excerpt. Explain its effectiveness.

 

How would you describe the lesson?

 

  1. Monotonous
  2. Scintillating
  3. Boisterous

 

Answer:

The hyperbole used is "taking an eternity to end". (1m) It is effective in conveying that Megan found Mr. Smith's Science lesson very boring/dull. 

Explanation:

A hyperbole is a figure of speech that uses exaggeration or overstatement to emphasise a certain effect. In this context, it is used to emphasise the dull nature of the lesson. It does NOT literally mean that the lesson lasted an eternity.

 

Passage 4:

In the text below, a man is trying to evade the police by hiding in a manhole.

 

There was a prolonged scream of brakes and the siren broke off. “I'm done for! They've discovered my whereabouts,” he uttered despairingly. He tried to keep a cool head. Panicking would simply exacerbate matters. Looming above his head in the pouring rain, a stern face hovered over the manhole. It was time to face the music.

 

Question 4:

Identify the word in the given excerpt which suggests that the car is a person. Why does the writer describe the car in this way?

 

  1. Prolonged
  2. Siren
  3. Brakes
  4. Scream

 

Answer:

The word is "scream" (Option D). The writer describes the car in this way to show that the car is emitting a high-pitched noise due to the brakes being applied forcefully/ is being pushed to its limit/is protesting. 

Explanation:

Personification happens when an inanimate object or an animal is given human qualities (abilities/emotions/characteristics). In order to explain personification, you must first explain the human quality then link it to the inanimate object or animal. By giving the car's brakes the ability to "scream", the car is personified.

 

Passage 5:

The text below is the writer not taking advice from someone.

 

Our school’s photo-and-video club was headed towards Hyde Park for an excursion trip. Upon arrival, our teacher-in-charge, Madam Lisa, announced, “You have two hours. Meet here at four-thirty!” I hurried off with my best friend, Marcus. Our mission that day was simple. We were having a competition, and the best picture with the most apt caption would win a prize. I was determined to win the “Best Photographer Award”. The sun hit us smartly in the face, like a bully. Flora and fauna at Hyde Park were stunning. Birds were twittering away gaily on the trees, bees were humming and dancing in the flower beds, and the leaves on the tree branches were swaying gently in the breeze. I closed my eyes and felt the breeze caressing my face.

As we were walking, I remembered that I had some leftover sandwiches. I zipped open my bag and fished out my lunch box.

Marcus seemed to have read my mind. “Harry, you are not going to feed the monkeys, are you? That sign clearly states not to feed the monkeys!” Marcus reminded me, his eyebrows creasing into a frown. I brushed off his concern and edged closer to the monkeys. “Harry, steer clear of those monkeys! They might become aggressive!” Marcus advised. Once again, I shrugged off my friend’s warnings. Anyway, what could a mere small monkey do to me?

 

Question 5:

Which two words suggest that the sun is a person?

 

Answer:

The words are "hit" and "bully". 

Explanation:

Personification happens when an inanimate object or an animal is given human qualities (abilities/emotions/characteristics). In order to explain personification, you must first explain the human quality then link it to the inanimate object or animal. Sun is an abstract concept, yet it is described as a bully who is able to hit them in the face, as if it were a living thing.

 

Passage 6:

The text below describes an incident of snatch theft.

 

It was with an utmost sense of security that Ava set out for the town. It was a sleepy seaside town and every face encountered was always a familiar one. The one-mile walk she took revived her senses that had been dulled by staying indoors for far too long. As she turned into the dimly lit side street leading to her home, her pleasant musings were abruptly interrupted by an unusual sight. Standing before her, a portly man who resembled a Roman emperor, had dramatically extracted his wallet from his pocket. It looked as if he was flaunting its contents. As if by sorcery, a scrawny, predatory man appeared out of thin air and snatched the wallet from his grasp. Changing course, he sped towards Ava at breakneck speed.

Without flinching, she stuck out the umbrella she was holding. It caught him between his flying legs, causing him to trip and fall. The wallet arced through the air and landed on a grass patch a distance away.

 

Question 6

From the last two sentences, identify the hyperbole that suggests that the snatch thief was running at a high speed.

 

  1. breakneck speed
  2. flying legs
  3. changing course
  4. speed of light

 

Answer:

The answer is "flying legs" (Option B).

Explanation:

A hyperbole is a figure of speech that uses exaggeration or overstatement to emphasise a certain effect. In this context, it is used to emphasise the speed at which his legs were moving - he was running so quickly that his legs were described as "flying". It does NOT literally mean that actual flight took place. It is a literary device used to highlight the extent or degree of something.

 

Passage 7: 

The text below describes a merciless drought that occurred in the eastern part of China.

 

After the drought, famine ravished a small province located in the eastern part of China. The land was cracked and bare. In the rice paddy fields, the harvest should have been filled with bountiful, golden crops. Yet, only the half-dried and withered stubble of their crops lay open to shrivel under the scorching sun. The sunken faces of the farmers emphasised the sense of hopelessness in their hearts. Sometimes, the cries of the villagers could be heard collectively. Death had come knocking on their doors. Despite this, they were immune to it not long after.

 

Question 7:

Identify the sentence which suggests that death is a person.

 

Answer:

The sentence is "Death had come knocking on their doors." 

Explanation:

Personification happens when an inanimate object or an animal is given human qualities (abilities/emotions/characteristics). In order to explain personification, you must first explain the human quality then link it to the inanimate object or animal. By describing death as being able to knock on their doors, it is personified.

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Continuous Writing: Personal Recount Continuous Writing - Expository
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Comprehension Skills - Direct Recall Of Relevant Material, Paraphrasing Text 2 Skills: Literacy Devices
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Literary Devices Irony
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Text 2 Skills: Literacy Devices
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Literary Devices
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Summary Writing
Situational Writing - Formal Letter of Complaint
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