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Comprehension Skills - Language Arts

In this article, we will be learning about language arts in comprehension passages. A lot of schools teach literature instead of language arts. So, the schools that cover English and literature separately, will have a brief lesson on literature. We will be majorly covering imagery and figurative language below. So, let’s get right into it.

What is Imagery?

The use of vivid and descriptive language appeals to the reader’s senses, making it easier for the reader to imagine the scene or setting or what the characters are thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting or smelling. The imagery contains both literal and figurative language. 

Example of Imagery

The night was dark and humid, the scent of rotting vegetation hung in the air, and only the sound of mosquitoes broke the quiet of the swamp. 

What is Figurative Language?

The use of words in ways that deviate from their literal interpretation and sound devices to achieve a more complex or powerful effect. 

Examples of figurative language

  • Metaphor: Comparing A to B so that A will embody the characteristics of B. The characteristics are inferred, not stated.
    Example:
    Life is a rollercoaster.

  • Simile: Using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’ to compare A and B so that A will embody the characteristics of B. The characteristics are inferred, not stated.
    Example:
    They fought like cats and dogs.

    She is as busy as a bee.

  • Personification: Attributing human characteristics to non-humans.
    Example:
    Opportunity knocked at his door.

 

Example 1:

Late in December, blankets of rain came, and the river climbed to the top of its banks. It growled and thrashed against the banks. When the water began to hug our waists, my parents made plans in case the river should invade our house. My mother decided she would pack our books and her fine china in the den off the master bedroom.

Pick out a phrase that provides imagery about the rain in line 

  1. Explain its effectiveness in portraying the rain.

Answer:

‘blankets of rain came’ indicates that the rain was very heavy. The visual image of heavy blankets of rain that weighed down on those experiencing it helps to effectively convey how strong the rain was, as well as how the volume of water in the river had increased. 

Practice Questions

Question 1:

Late in December, blankets of rain came, and the river climbed to the top of its banks. It growled and thrashed against the banks. When the water began to hug our waists, my parents made plans in case the river should invade our house. My mother decided she would pack our books and her fine china in the den off the master bedroom.

Look at the bolded words. What is the personification describing?

  1. The rain.
  2. The rising water level of the river.
  3. The decreasing water level of the river.
  4. The increasing rain.

Answer:

B) The rising water level of the river.

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (B) - “The rising water level of the river”. It was just describing the idea that the water level was rising.

 

Question 2:

Late in December, blankets of rain came, and the river climbed to the top of its banks. It growled and thrashed against the banks. When the water began to hug our waists, my parents made plans in case the river should invade our house. My mother decided she would pack our books and her fine china in the den off the master bedroom.

Look at the bolded words. What is the type of figurative language used?

  1. Simile
  2. Metaphor
  3. Imagery
  4. Personification

Answer:

D) personification

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (D) - “personification”. The word “thrashed” means to move in a violent/ uncontrollable way.

 

Question 3:

Late in December, blankets of rain came, and the river climbed to the top of its banks. It growled and thrashed against the banks, a beast of the sea. When the water began to hug our waists, my parents made plans in case the river should invade our house. My mother decided she would pack our books and her fine china in the den off the master bedroom.

Look at the bolded words. What characteristic/s of the sea does it highlight?

  1. Violent
  2. Strong
  3. Scary
  4. Uncontrollable

Choose the correct option.

  1. 1 & 3
  2. 1 & 2
  3. 2 & 3
  4. All

Answer:

D) All

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (D) - “All”. It embodies all of the characteristics mentioned in the options.

 

Question 4:

Late in December, blankets of rain came, and the river climbed to the top of its banks. It growled and thrashed against the banks. When the water began to hug our waists, my parents made plans in case the river should invade our house. My mother decided she would pack our books and her fine china in the den off the master bedroom.

Look at the bolded words. What does the personification emphasise about the water?

  1. The water had risen to waist level.
  2. The water was surrounding them.
  3. The water level was high.
  4. The water was cold.

Choose the correct option.

  1. 1 & 3
  2. 1, 2 & 3
  3. 2, 3 & 4
  4. All

Answer:

B) 1, 2 & 3

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (B) - “1, 2 & 3”. Statement (4) is incorrect because the phrase in the question doesn’t indicate the water’s temperature.

 

Question 5:

Late in December, blankets of rain came, and the river climbed to the tops of its banks. It growled and thrashed against the banks. When the water began to hug our waists, my parents made plans in case the river should invade our house. My mother decided she would pack our books and her fine china in the den off the master bedroom.

Look at the bolded words. What does it emphasise about the river?

  1. The river might overcome them.
  2. The river might drown them.
  3. The river might attack them.
  4. The river might enter the house by force.

Answer:

D) The river might enter the house by force.

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (D) - “The river might enter the house by force”. Options (A) & (B) indicate that the river might drown them but it is just a possible consequence which can happen if the water enters their house forcefully. But, it is not the only possible consequence which will happen. Option (C) is incorrect as “invade” does not mean “attack” but only means that it can enter by force.

 

Question 6:

One night very late I was awakened by a tearing noise, like timbers creaking. Then there was the rumbling sound of heavy things falling. I jumped out of bed and ran into the hallway. My parents were standing in the doorway to the den.

Look at the bolded words. What is the type of figurative language used?

  1. Simile
  2. Metaphor
  3. Imagery
  4. Personification

Answer:

A) Simile

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (A) - “simile”. Similes are like metaphors but the only thing that distinguishes similes from metaphors is the usage of words like “as” or “like”.

 

Question 7:

Mother had been lion-hearted, it seemed to me, through the ordeal of the flood. She was steady as a rock and calm, and kept things going in a soldierly manner. But that night she sat on the top of the stairs with her head on her crossed arms and weeped, pouring her heart out into her hands. I had never seen her like that, and there was a sound in her weeping that made me take a pause. I wanted to help her, but I couldn’t think of what I could possibly do. I just knew I had to rack my brain to figure out something. 

Look at the bolded words. What does the metaphor emphasise about the Mother?

  1. She is fierce.
  2. She is fast.
  3. She is courageous.
  4. She is resilient.

Choose the correct option.

  1. 1 & 2
  2. 2 & 3
  3. 3 & 4
  4. All

Answer:

C) 3 & 4

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (C) - “3 & 4”. Statements (1) & (2) are incorrect as the phrase lion-hearted compares the mother’s heart with a lion’s heart. Students must infer that a lion’s heart refers to courage and resilience and not the physical characteristics of a lion that show how fierce or fast a lion can be.

 

Question 8:

Mother had been lion-hearted, it seemed to me, through the ordeal of the flood. She was steady as a rock and calm, and kept things going in a soldierly manner. But that night she sat on the top of the stairs with her head on her crossed arms and weeped, pouring her heart out into her hands. I had never seen her like that, and there was a sound in her weeping that made me take a pause. I wanted to help her, but I couldn’t think of what I could possibly do. I just knew I had to rack my brain to figure out something. 

Look at the bolded words. Why is it effective in describing Mother? 

  1. It emphasizes her emotional strength.
  2. It emphasizes her emotional stability.
  3. It emphasizes to readers how hard she is.
  4. It emphasizes to readers how strong she is physically. 

Choose the correct option.

  1. 1 & 2
  2. 2 & 3
  3. 3 & 4
  4. All

Answer:

A) 1 & 2

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (A) - “1 & 2”. Statements (3) & (4) are incorrect as we need to consider the context of the phrase mentioned in the question.

 

Question 9:

Mother had been lion-hearted, it seemed to me, through the ordeal of the flood. She was steady as a rock and calm, and kept things going in a soldierly manner. But that night she sat on the top of the stairs with her head on her crossed arms and weeped, pouring her heart out into her hands. I had never seen her like that, and there was a sound in her weeping that made me take a pause. I wanted to help her, but I couldn’t think of what I could possibly do. I just knew I had to rack my brain to figure out something. 

Look at the bolded words. How does the writer vividly portray Mother?

  1. Mother ensured everything was proceeding in an orderly fashion.
  2. Everything was done without any emotions.
  3. The writer creates the visual image of soldiers operating in the army, which implies its organised and orderly manner, effectively conveying how everything was running efficiently at home due to the writer’s mother. 
  4. The writer creates the visual image of soldiers operating in the army, which implies its organised and orderly manner, effectively conveying how emotionless the writer’s mother can be.. 

Answer:

C) The writer creates the visual image of soldiers operating in the army, which implies its organised and orderly manner, effectively conveying how everything was running efficiently at home due to the writer’s mother. 

Explanation:

The correct answer to this question is option (C) - “The writer creates the visual image of soldiers operating in the army, which implies its organised and orderly manner, effectively conveying how everything was running efficiently at home due to the writer’s mother.”


 

Continue Learning
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Comprehension Skills (Inferential Questions)
Continuous Writing: Personal Recount Continuous Writing - Expository
Comprehension Skills (IYOW Questions) Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) - Dialogue Questions
Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) - Summary Writing Skills Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) - Flowchart Questions
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Unusual & Effective Questions Comprehension Skills (Non-narrative Text) Direct Questions
Editing Comprehension Skills - Referencing Questions
Comprehension Skills - Direct Recall Of Relevant Material, Paraphrasing Text 2 Skills: Literacy Devices
Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Literary Devices Irony
Summary Writing Situational Writing - Formal Letter of Complaint
Comprehension Skills - Language Arts Comprehension Skills - Vocabulary-based Questions
Comprehension Skills - Identifying Relevant Linguistic Expression Comprehension Skills (Narrative Text) Technique-Based Questions

 

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