Common Core: 8th Grade English Language Arts : Analyze How a Modern Work Uses Traditional Literary Archetypes: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.9

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Example Question #1 : Analyze How A Modern Work Uses Traditional Literary Archetypes: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Rl.8.9

Adapted from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

'Do you mean to tell me,' shouted the Rat, thumping with his little fist upon the table, 'that you've heard nothing about the Stoats and Weasels?’

‘What, the Wild Wooders?' cried Toad, trembling in every limb. 'No, not a word! What have they been doing?’

'—And how they've been and taken Toad Hall?' continued the Rat.

Toad leaned his elbows on the table, and his chin on his paws; and a large tear welled up in each of his eyes, overflowed and splashed on the table, plop! plop!

'The Wild Wooders have been living in Toad Hall ever since you—got—into that—that—trouble of yours,' continued the Rat; 'and going on simply anyhow! Lying in bed half the day, and breakfast at all hours, and the place in such a mess (I'm told) it's not fit to be seen! Eating your grub, and drinking your drink, and making bad jokes about you, and singing vulgar songs, about—well, about prisons and magistrates, and policemen; horrid personal songs, with no humor in them. And they're telling the tradespeople and everybody that they've come to stay for good.’

. . . 

Such a tremendous noise was going on in the banqueting-hall that there was little danger of their being overheard. The Badger said, 'Now, boys, all together!' and the four of them put their shoulders to the trap-door and heaved it back. Hoisting each other up, they found themselves standing in the pantry, with only a door between them and the banqueting-hall, where their unconscious enemies were carousing.

The noise, as they emerged from the passage, was simply deafening. At last, as the cheering and hammering slowly subsided, a voice could be made out saying, 'Well, I do not propose to detain you much longer'—(great applause)—'but before I resume my seat'—(renewed cheering)—'I should like to say one word about our kind host, Mr. Toad. We all know Toad!'—(great laughter)—'GOOD Toad, MODEST Toad, HONEST Toad!' (shrieks of merriment).

'Only just let me get at him!' muttered Toad, grinding his teeth.

'Hold hard a minute!' said the Badger, restraining him with difficulty. 'Get ready, all of you!'

'—Let me sing you a little song,' went on the voice, 'which I have composed on the subject of Toad'—(prolonged applause).

The Badger drew himself up, took a firm grip of his stick with both paws, glanced round at his comrades, and cried—

'The hour is come! Follow me!’

And flung the door open wide.

My!

What a squealing and a squeaking and a screeching filled the air!

Well might the terrified weasels dive under the tables and spring madly up at the windows! Well might the ferrets rush wildly for the fireplace and get hopelessly jammed in the chimney! Well might tables and chairs be upset, and glass and china be sent crashing on the floor, in the panic of that terrible moment when the four Heroes strode wrathfully into the room! The mighty Badger, his whiskers bristling, his great cudgel whistling through the air; Mole, black and grim, brandishing his stick and shouting his awful war-cry, 'A Mole! A Mole!' Rat; desperate and determined, his belt bulging with weapons of every age and every variety; Toad, frenzied with excitement and injured pride, swollen to twice his ordinary size, leaping into the air and emitting Toad-whoops that chilled them to the marrow! He went straight for the Chief Weasel. They were but four in all, but to the panic-stricken weasels the hall seemed full of monstrous animals, grey, black, brown and yellow, whooping and flourishing enormous cudgels; and they broke and fled with squeals of terror and dismay, this way and that, through the windows, up the chimney, anywhere to get out of reach of those terrible sticks.

The affair was soon over. Up and down, the whole length of the hall, strode the four Friends, whacking with their sticks at every head that showed itself; and in five minutes the room was cleared. Through the broken windows the shrieks of terrified weasels escaping across the lawn were borne faintly to their ears; on the floor lay prostrate some dozen or so of the enemy, on whom the Mole was busily engaged in fitting handcuffs. The Badger, resting from his labors, leant on his stick and wiped his honest brow.

Which of the characters is most directly analogous to Odysseus/Ulysses?

Possible Answers:

The Toad

The Rat

The Chief Weasel

The Mole

The Badger

Correct answer:

The Toad

Explanation:

The character in the passage most analogous to Odysseus is Toad, as it is his home that he and his friends are trying to retake from the weasels and stoats. It is also he who has been absent for a notable time, as the Rat mentions when he says, "'When you—got—into that—that—trouble of yours." Odysseus comes back to his house after a long absence and chases his wife's suitors out of his home in the Odyssey with help from friends, which is very similar to what Toad does in the passage.

Example Question #2 : Analyze How A Modern Work Uses Traditional Literary Archetypes: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Rl.8.9

Adapted from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

'Do you mean to tell me,' shouted the Rat, thumping with his little fist upon the table, 'that you've heard nothing about the Stoats and Weasels?’

‘What, the Wild Wooders?' cried Toad, trembling in every limb. 'No, not a word! What have they been doing?’

'—And how they've been and taken Toad Hall?' continued the Rat.

Toad leaned his elbows on the table, and his chin on his paws; and a large tear welled up in each of his eyes, overflowed and splashed on the table, plop! plop!

'The Wild Wooders have been living in Toad Hall ever since you—got—into that—that—trouble of yours,' continued the Rat; 'and going on simply anyhow! Lying in bed half the day, and breakfast at all hours, and the place in such a mess (I'm told) it's not fit to be seen! Eating your grub, and drinking your drink, and making bad jokes about you, and singing vulgar songs, about—well, about prisons and magistrates, and policemen; horrid personal songs, with no humor in them. And they're telling the tradespeople and everybody that they've come to stay for good.’

. . . 

Such a tremendous noise was going on in the banqueting-hall that there was little danger of their being overheard. The Badger said, 'Now, boys, all together!' and the four of them put their shoulders to the trap-door and heaved it back. Hoisting each other up, they found themselves standing in the pantry, with only a door between them and the banqueting-hall, where their unconscious enemies were carousing.

The noise, as they emerged from the passage, was simply deafening. At last, as the cheering and hammering slowly subsided, a voice could be made out saying, 'Well, I do not propose to detain you much longer'—(great applause)—'but before I resume my seat'—(renewed cheering)—'I should like to say one word about our kind host, Mr. Toad. We all know Toad!'—(great laughter)—'GOOD Toad, MODEST Toad, HONEST Toad!' (shrieks of merriment).

'Only just let me get at him!' muttered Toad, grinding his teeth.

'Hold hard a minute!' said the Badger, restraining him with difficulty. 'Get ready, all of you!'

'—Let me sing you a little song,' went on the voice, 'which I have composed on the subject of Toad'—(prolonged applause).

The Badger drew himself up, took a firm grip of his stick with both paws, glanced round at his comrades, and cried—

'The hour is come! Follow me!’

And flung the door open wide.

My!

What a squealing and a squeaking and a screeching filled the air!

Well might the terrified weasels dive under the tables and spring madly up at the windows! Well might the ferrets rush wildly for the fireplace and get hopelessly jammed in the chimney! Well might tables and chairs be upset, and glass and china be sent crashing on the floor, in the panic of that terrible moment when the four Heroes strode wrathfully into the room! The mighty Badger, his whiskers bristling, his great cudgel whistling through the air; Mole, black and grim, brandishing his stick and shouting his awful war-cry, 'A Mole! A Mole!' Rat; desperate and determined, his belt bulging with weapons of every age and every variety; Toad, frenzied with excitement and injured pride, swollen to twice his ordinary size, leaping into the air and emitting Toad-whoops that chilled them to the marrow! He went straight for the Chief Weasel. They were but four in all, but to the panic-stricken weasels the hall seemed full of monstrous animals, grey, black, brown and yellow, whooping and flourishing enormous cudgels; and they broke and fled with squeals of terror and dismay, this way and that, through the windows, up the chimney, anywhere to get out of reach of those terrible sticks.

The affair was soon over. Up and down, the whole length of the hall, strode the four Friends, whacking with their sticks at every head that showed itself; and in five minutes the room was cleared. Through the broken windows the shrieks of terrified weasels escaping across the lawn were borne faintly to their ears; on the floor lay prostrate some dozen or so of the enemy, on whom the Mole was busily engaged in fitting handcuffs. The Badger, resting from his labors, leant on his stick and wiped his honest brow.

Which of the following best summarizes what happens in the passage?

Possible Answers:

The Badger leads a group of friends into Toad Hall, which has been taken over by Wild Wood animals.

Toad learns that Toad Hall has been overtaken, and with the help of his friends, reclaims it.

The Rat explains to Toad what’s become of his home, Toad Hall, in his extended absence.

A group of animals tries to reclaim one of their houses, but fails and is forced to retreat.

The Wild Wood animals celebrate in Toad Hall, helping themselves to the house’s provisions.

Correct answer:

Toad learns that Toad Hall has been overtaken, and with the help of his friends, reclaims it.

Explanation:

In the part of the passage before the break, Toad learns that the Wild Wooders have taken over Toad Hall, his residence. After the break, Toad and his friends the Badger, the Rat, and the Mole take back Toad Hall by sneaking up on the stoats and weasels carousing in the home. They are successful and are not forced to retreat, so “A group of animals tries to reclaim one of their houses, but fails and is forced to retreat” is not correct. “The Rat explains to Toad what’s become of his home, Toad Hall, in his extended absence” is not correct because it only describes the first part of the passage; similarly, “The Badger leads a group of friends into Toad Hall, which has been taken over by Wild Wood animals” is not correct because it only talks about the second part of the passage. “The Wild Wood animals celebrate in Toad Hall, helping themselves to the house’s provisions” does not summarize either part of the passage; it is just an event that occurs in it. The best answer is “Toad learns that Toad Hall has been overtaken, in and with the help of his friends, reclaims it.” This briefly tells readers what happens in both the first and second part of the passage.

Example Question #3 : Analyze How A Modern Work Uses Traditional Literary Archetypes: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Rl.8.9

Adapted from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

'Do you mean to tell me,' shouted the Rat, thumping with his little fist upon the table, 'that you've heard nothing about the Stoats and Weasels?’

‘What, the Wild Wooders?' cried Toad, trembling in every limb. 'No, not a word! What have they been doing?’

'—And how they've been and taken Toad Hall?' continued the Rat.

Toad leaned his elbows on the table, and his chin on his paws; and a large tear welled up in each of his eyes, overflowed and splashed on the table, plop! plop!

'The Wild Wooders have been living in Toad Hall ever since you—got—into that—that—trouble of yours,' continued the Rat; 'and going on simply anyhow! Lying in bed half the day, and breakfast at all hours, and the place in such a mess (I'm told) it's not fit to be seen! Eating your grub, and drinking your drink, and making bad jokes about you, and singing vulgar songs, about—well, about prisons and magistrates, and policemen; horrid personal songs, with no humor in them. And they're telling the tradespeople and everybody that they've come to stay for good.’

. . . 

Such a tremendous noise was going on in the banqueting-hall that there was little danger of their being overheard. The Badger said, 'Now, boys, all together!' and the four of them put their shoulders to the trap-door and heaved it back. Hoisting each other up, they found themselves standing in the pantry, with only a door between them and the banqueting-hall, where their unconscious enemies were carousing.

The noise, as they emerged from the passage, was simply deafening. At last, as the cheering and hammering slowly subsided, a voice could be made out saying, 'Well, I do not propose to detain you much longer'—(great applause)—'but before I resume my seat'—(renewed cheering)—'I should like to say one word about our kind host, Mr. Toad. We all know Toad!'—(great laughter)—'GOOD Toad, MODEST Toad, HONEST Toad!' (shrieks of merriment).

'Only just let me get at him!' muttered Toad, grinding his teeth.

'Hold hard a minute!' said the Badger, restraining him with difficulty. 'Get ready, all of you!'

'—Let me sing you a little song,' went on the voice, 'which I have composed on the subject of Toad'—(prolonged applause).

The Badger drew himself up, took a firm grip of his stick with both paws, glanced round at his comrades, and cried—

'The hour is come! Follow me!’

And flung the door open wide.

My!

What a squealing and a squeaking and a screeching filled the air!

Well might the terrified weasels dive under the tables and spring madly up at the windows! Well might the ferrets rush wildly for the fireplace and get hopelessly jammed in the chimney! Well might tables and chairs be upset, and glass and china be sent crashing on the floor, in the panic of that terrible moment when the four Heroes strode wrathfully into the room! The mighty Badger, his whiskers bristling, his great cudgel whistling through the air; Mole, black and grim, brandishing his stick and shouting his awful war-cry, 'A Mole! A Mole!' Rat; desperate and determined, his belt bulging with weapons of every age and every variety; Toad, frenzied with excitement and injured pride, swollen to twice his ordinary size, leaping into the air and emitting Toad-whoops that chilled them to the marrow! He went straight for the Chief Weasel. They were but four in all, but to the panic-stricken weasels the hall seemed full of monstrous animals, grey, black, brown and yellow, whooping and flourishing enormous cudgels; and they broke and fled with squeals of terror and dismay, this way and that, through the windows, up the chimney, anywhere to get out of reach of those terrible sticks.

The affair was soon over. Up and down, the whole length of the hall, strode the four Friends, whacking with their sticks at every head that showed itself; and in five minutes the room was cleared. Through the broken windows the shrieks of terrified weasels escaping across the lawn were borne faintly to their ears; on the floor lay prostrate some dozen or so of the enemy, on whom the Mole was busily engaged in fitting handcuffs. The Badger, resting from his labors, leant on his stick and wiped his honest brow.

The chapter from which the latter scene is excerpted is titled “The Return of Ulysses.” What famous story is the author referencing in this choice of chapter title?

Possible Answers:

The story of Prometheus

The Odyssey

A story from the Bible

The story of Hercules

A creation myth

Correct answer:

The Odyssey

Explanation:

Ulysses is the Roman name of Odysseus, the main character of the Odyssey, an epic poem by Homer. In it, Odysseus is attempting to return home to his wife Penelope after the events in the Illiad, during which a great war is fought. Odysseus encounters many obstacles that have become famous as literary references, including but not limited to sirens, Scylla and Charybdis, a cyclops, and an island of lotus-eaters. Eventually, Odysseus returns home to find that Penelope is beset by suitors who think Odysseus has died, and that the suitors have taken up residence in his house and have been eating his food and drinking his beverages. With some help, Odysseus is able to chase them out. It is this famous scene that we see replayed in a different fashion in the passage. Note that you didn’t need to know that to answer this question, though—just recognizing that Ulysses is associated with the Odyssey is enough!

Example Question #3 : Analyze How A Modern Work Uses Traditional Literary Archetypes: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Rl.8.9

Adapted from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

'Do you mean to tell me,' shouted the Rat, thumping with his little fist upon the table, 'that you've heard nothing about the Stoats and Weasels?’

‘What, the Wild Wooders?' cried Toad, trembling in every limb. 'No, not a word! What have they been doing?’

'—And how they've been and taken Toad Hall?' continued the Rat.

Toad leaned his elbows on the table, and his chin on his paws; and a large tear welled up in each of his eyes, overflowed and splashed on the table, plop! plop!

'The Wild Wooders have been living in Toad Hall ever since you—got—into that—that—trouble of yours,' continued the Rat; 'and going on simply anyhow! Lying in bed half the day, and breakfast at all hours, and the place in such a mess (I'm told) it's not fit to be seen! Eating your grub, and drinking your drink, and making bad jokes about you, and singing vulgar songs, about—well, about prisons and magistrates, and policemen; horrid personal songs, with no humor in them. And they're telling the tradespeople and everybody that they've come to stay for good.’

. . . 

Such a tremendous noise was going on in the banqueting-hall that there was little danger of their being overheard. The Badger said, 'Now, boys, all together!' and the four of them put their shoulders to the trap-door and heaved it back. Hoisting each other up, they found themselves standing in the pantry, with only a door between them and the banqueting-hall, where their unconscious enemies were carousing.

The noise, as they emerged from the passage, was simply deafening. At last, as the cheering and hammering slowly subsided, a voice could be made out saying, 'Well, I do not propose to detain you much longer'—(great applause)—'but before I resume my seat'—(renewed cheering)—'I should like to say one word about our kind host, Mr. Toad. We all know Toad!'—(great laughter)—'GOOD Toad, MODEST Toad, HONEST Toad!' (shrieks of merriment).

'Only just let me get at him!' muttered Toad, grinding his teeth.

'Hold hard a minute!' said the Badger, restraining him with difficulty. 'Get ready, all of you!'

'—Let me sing you a little song,' went on the voice, 'which I have composed on the subject of Toad'—(prolonged applause).

The Badger drew himself up, took a firm grip of his stick with both paws, glanced round at his comrades, and cried—

'The hour is come! Follow me!’

And flung the door open wide.

My!

What a squealing and a squeaking and a screeching filled the air!

Well might the terrified weasels dive under the tables and spring madly up at the windows! Well might the ferrets rush wildly for the fireplace and get hopelessly jammed in the chimney! Well might tables and chairs be upset, and glass and china be sent crashing on the floor, in the panic of that terrible moment when the four Heroes strode wrathfully into the room! The mighty Badger, his whiskers bristling, his great cudgel whistling through the air; Mole, black and grim, brandishing his stick and shouting his awful war-cry, 'A Mole! A Mole!' Rat; desperate and determined, his belt bulging with weapons of every age and every variety; Toad, frenzied with excitement and injured pride, swollen to twice his ordinary size, leaping into the air and emitting Toad-whoops that chilled them to the marrow! He went straight for the Chief Weasel. They were but four in all, but to the panic-stricken weasels the hall seemed full of monstrous animals, grey, black, brown and yellow, whooping and flourishing enormous cudgels; and they broke and fled with squeals of terror and dismay, this way and that, through the windows, up the chimney, anywhere to get out of reach of those terrible sticks.

The affair was soon over. Up and down, the whole length of the hall, strode the four Friends, whacking with their sticks at every head that showed itself; and in five minutes the room was cleared. Through the broken windows the shrieks of terrified weasels escaping across the lawn were borne faintly to their ears; on the floor lay prostrate some dozen or so of the enemy, on whom the Mole was busily engaged in fitting handcuffs. The Badger, resting from his labors, leant on his stick and wiped his honest brow.

In referring to the four animals as “heroes” in the following sentence, the author __________.

"Well might tables and chairs be upset, and glass and china be sent crashing on the floor, in the panic of that terrible moment when the four Heroes strode wrathfully into the room!" 

Possible Answers:

makes it clear that we should be rooting for the weasels and stoats

strengthens an allusion being made to a particular famous ancient story

introduces the idea that the animal narrating that scene thinks the Toad, Badger, Rat, and Mole don’t deserve to be called heroes

suggests that what they are doing isn’t actually that heroic

makes it clear that only some of the animals invading Toad Hall are acting heroically

Correct answer:

strengthens an allusion being made to a particular famous ancient story

Explanation:

Even if you don’t recognize that by calling the Badger, Mole, Toad, and Rat “heroes” the author is strengthening the parallels between this story and the Odyssey, you can eliminate all of the wrong answers and arrive at the correct one, that the use of the word “heroes” “strengthens an allusion to a particular famous ancient story.”  

Does the word “heroes” make it clear that we should be rooting for the weasels and stoats? Not at all—it’s not the weasels and stoats who are being called “heroes” by the author, it’s the Badger, Toad, Rat, and Mole. Does the author’s use of the word “heroes” introduce the idea that the animal narrating the scene . . . wait a moment. Is there an animal narrating the scene? We’re not given any indication that that is true. Plus, we’re not given any clues that the narrator thinks that the group of four main character animals don’t deserve to be called “heroes.” The use of the word also does not suggest that what they are doing isn’t actually heroic, or that only some of the four main animals are acting heroically. Eliminating these answer choices, we’re left with the correct one!

Example Question #4 : Analyze How A Modern Work Uses Traditional Literary Archetypes: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Rl.8.9

Adapted from The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (1908)

'Do you mean to tell me,' shouted the Rat, thumping with his little fist upon the table, 'that you've heard nothing about the Stoats and Weasels?’

‘What, the Wild Wooders?' cried Toad, trembling in every limb. 'No, not a word! What have they been doing?’

'—And how they've been and taken Toad Hall?' continued the Rat.

Toad leaned his elbows on the table, and his chin on his paws; and a large tear welled up in each of his eyes, overflowed and splashed on the table, plop! plop!

'The Wild Wooders have been living in Toad Hall ever since you—got—into that—that—trouble of yours,' continued the Rat; 'and going on simply anyhow! Lying in bed half the day, and breakfast at all hours, and the place in such a mess (I'm told) it's not fit to be seen! Eating your grub, and drinking your drink, and making bad jokes about you, and singing vulgar songs, about—well, about prisons and magistrates, and policemen; horrid personal songs, with no humor in them. And they're telling the tradespeople and everybody that they've come to stay for good.’

. . . 

Such a tremendous noise was going on in the banqueting-hall that there was little danger of their being overheard. The Badger said, 'Now, boys, all together!' and the four of them put their shoulders to the trap-door and heaved it back. Hoisting each other up, they found themselves standing in the pantry, with only a door between them and the banqueting-hall, where their unconscious enemies were carousing.

The noise, as they emerged from the passage, was simply deafening. At last, as the cheering and hammering slowly subsided, a voice could be made out saying, 'Well, I do not propose to detain you much longer'—(great applause)—'but before I resume my seat'—(renewed cheering)—'I should like to say one word about our kind host, Mr. Toad. We all know Toad!'—(great laughter)—'GOOD Toad, MODEST Toad, HONEST Toad!' (shrieks of merriment).

'Only just let me get at him!' muttered Toad, grinding his teeth.

'Hold hard a minute!' said the Badger, restraining him with difficulty. 'Get ready, all of you!'

'—Let me sing you a little song,' went on the voice, 'which I have composed on the subject of Toad'—(prolonged applause).

The Badger drew himself up, took a firm grip of his stick with both paws, glanced round at his comrades, and cried—

'The hour is come! Follow me!’

And flung the door open wide.

My!

What a squealing and a squeaking and a screeching filled the air!

Well might the terrified weasels dive under the tables and spring madly up at the windows! Well might the ferrets rush wildly for the fireplace and get hopelessly jammed in the chimney! Well might tables and chairs be upset, and glass and china be sent crashing on the floor, in the panic of that terrible moment when the four Heroes strode wrathfully into the room! The mighty Badger, his whiskers bristling, his great cudgel whistling through the air; Mole, black and grim, brandishing his stick and shouting his awful war-cry, 'A Mole! A Mole!' Rat; desperate and determined, his belt bulging with weapons of every age and every variety; Toad, frenzied with excitement and injured pride, swollen to twice his ordinary size, leaping into the air and emitting Toad-whoops that chilled them to the marrow! He went straight for the Chief Weasel. They were but four in all, but to the panic-stricken weasels the hall seemed full of monstrous animals, grey, black, brown and yellow, whooping and flourishing enormous cudgels; and they broke and fled with squeals of terror and dismay, this way and that, through the windows, up the chimney, anywhere to get out of reach of those terrible sticks.

The affair was soon over. Up and down, the whole length of the hall, strode the four Friends, whacking with their sticks at every head that showed itself; and in five minutes the room was cleared. Through the broken windows the shrieks of terrified weasels escaping across the lawn were borne faintly to their ears; on the floor lay prostrate some dozen or so of the enemy, on whom the Mole was busily engaged in fitting handcuffs. The Badger, resting from his labors, leant on his stick and wiped his honest brow.

The stoats and weasels play the same role as __________ play(s) in a famous story by Homer.

Possible Answers:

Odysseus

the Trojan army as it builds a wooden horse

a trickster figure

Telemachus, Odysseus’s son

a group of suitors in Odysseus's house

Correct answer:

a group of suitors in Odysseus's house

Explanation:

In the passage, the Wild Wood stoats and weasels have taken up residence in Toad’s house and are helping themselves to his stores of food and drink and generally having a party. This is the same role that the group of suitors plays in the Odyssey. Believing Odysseus, the main character, to be dead, they start trying to court his wife and take up residence in his house, having a continuous party.

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