Common Core: 8th Grade English Language Arts : Compare and Contrast Multiple Texts’ Structures and Analyze How Each Creates Meaning: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.8.5

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Compare And Contrast Multiple Texts’ Structures And Analyze How Each Creates Meaning: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Rl.8.5

Adapted from “The Fog” by Carl Sandberg in Modern American Poetry (1919; ed. Untermeyer)

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking 
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

 

Adapted from “The Eagle” by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1851)

He crasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

Which of the following describes a major difference between how these two short descriptive poems each distinguish their two stanzas?

Possible Answers:

“The Fog” discusses weather in the first stanza but switches to discussing an animal in the second; “The Eagle” discusses an animal in both of its stanzas.

The first stanza of “The Fog” establishes a metaphor crucial to the poem, and the second stanza elaborates on it. “The Eagle” uses a simile in its second stanza that is not as crucial to the poem.

“The Fog” discusses an animal in both of its stanzas; “The Eagle” discusses a person in its first stanza and an animal in its second stanza.

“The Fog” uses personification in its first stanza, whereas “The Eagle” uses personification in its second stanza.

“The Fog” uses a simile in its first stanza, and elaborates on it in the second stanza. “The Eagle” uses vivid imagery throughout, including a metaphor in its second stanza.

Correct answer:

The first stanza of “The Fog” establishes a metaphor crucial to the poem, and the second stanza elaborates on it. “The Eagle” uses a simile in its second stanza that is not as crucial to the poem.

Explanation:

To compare these two poems' stanzas accurately, let's consider what's going on in each of them. In the first stanza of "The Fog," the poet writes, "The fog comes / on little cat feet." What kind of language is this? it's not a simile because no word like "like" or "as" is used, so saying that the fog has "little cat feet" is a metaphor. This is the core of the poem, which its second stanza develops, continuing the metaphor by using description like "sits looking" "on silent haunches." This makes the fog sound like some sort of animal—specifically, a little cat. "The Eagle" is quite different. In its first stanza, the poem doesn't use a simile or metaphor for the eagle, but describes the bird directly. It uses a simile in the last line of its second stanza, "And like a thunderbolt he falls."

We can answer this question correctly based on these observations. We can't say that "The Fog" uses personification in its first stanza or that "The Eagle" uses personification in its second, so that answer choice is incorrect. "The Fog" discusses fog, a type of weather, in both of its stanzas; it doesn't discuss an animal in either of its stanza, though it can be easy to get confused about the metaphor the poet is using. So, the answer choices that claim that "The Fog" discusses an animal are incorrect as well. "The Fog" uses a metaphor, not a simile, in its first stanza, and "The Eagle" uses a simile, not a metaphor, in its second stanza, so that answer isn't correct either. 

The correct answer is "The first stanza of “The Fog” establishes a metaphor crucial to the poem, and the second stanza elaborates on it. “The Eagle” uses a simile in its second stanza that is not as crucial to the poem." These statements accurately reflect the literary devices used in each of the poems and their relative importance to each poem as a whole.

All Common Core: 8th Grade English Language Arts Resources

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