All Common Core: 8th Grade English Language Arts Resources
Example Question #1 : Interpret Figures Of Speech In Context: Ccss.Ela Literacy.L.8.5.A
Adapted from Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883)
He was a very silent man by custom. All day he hung round the cove or upon the cliffs with a brass telescope; all evening he sat in a corner of the parlor next the fire and drank rum and water very strong. Mostly he would not speak when spoken to, only look up sudden and fierce and blow through his nose like a fog-horn; and we and the people who came about our house soon learned to let him be. Every day when he came back from his stroll he would ask if any seafaring men had gone by along the road.
I was far less afraid of the captain than anybody else who knew him. There were nights when he would sometimes sit and sing his wicked, old, wild sea-songs, minding nobody; but sometimes he would call for glasses round and force all the trembling company to listen to his stories or bear a chorus to his singing. His stories were what frightened people worst of all. Dreadful stories they were—about hanging, and walking the plank, and storms at sea, and the Dry Tortugas, and wild deeds and places on the Spanish Main. By his own account he must have lived his life among some of the wickedest men upon the sea, and the language in which he told these stories shocked our plain country people almost as much as the crimes that he described. My father was always saying the inn would be ruined, for people would soon cease coming there to be tyrannized over and put down, and sent shivering to their beds; but I really believe his presence did us good. People were frightened at the time, but on looking back they rather liked it; it was a fine excitement in a quiet country life, and there was even a party of the younger men who pretended to admire him, calling him a "true sea-dog" and a "real old salt" and such like names, and saying there was the sort of man that made England terrible at sea.
The simile in the underlined sentence tells us that the man being described __________.
blows his nose when he is sad
blows his nose in a handkerchief
blows his nose to warn others of danger
blows his nose loudly
blows his nose because he has allergies
blows his nose loudly
The underlined sentence is as follows:
Mostly he would not speak when spoken to, only look up sudden and fierce and blow through his nose like a fog-horn; and we and the people who came about our house soon learned to let him be.
Where is the simile in this line? A simile compares two things using "like" or "as," so the simile is that the man "blow[s] through his nose like a fog-horn." Why is the author comparing this nose-blowing to a fog horn? What aspects of a fog horn is he indicating are similar to the character's blowing his nose? Well, fog horns warn sailors about dangers in fog when they cannot see very well. This aligns with the answer choice "blows his nose to warn others of danger," but it doesn't make much sense in the sentence itself. The character isn't blowing his nose to warn other people of any danger. Another aspect of fog horns is that they need to be very loud for sailors on the water to hear them. This goes with the answer choice "blows his nose loudly." This is the correct answer! The author is comparing the character's blowing his nose to a fog horn because both of them make loud noises.