All HiSET: Language Arts - Reading Resources
Example Question #1 : Literary And Argumentative Techniques
As the boat bounced from the top of each wave, the wind tore through the hair of the hatless men, and as the craft plopped her stern down again the spray slashed past them. The crest of each of these waves was a hill, from the top of which the men surveyed, for a moment, a broad tumultuous expanse; shining and wind-riven. It was probably splendid. It was probably glorious, this play of the free sea, wild with lights of emerald and white and amber.
"Bully good thing it's an on-shore wind," said the cook. "If not, where
would we be? Wouldn't have a show."
"That's right," said the correspondent.
The busy oiler nodded his assent.
Then the captain, in the bow, chuckled in a way that expressed humor, contempt, tragedy, all in one. "Do you think we've got much of a show, now, boys?" said he.
Whereupon the three were silent, save for a trifle of hemming and hawing. To express any particular optimism at this time they felt to be childish and stupid, but they all doubtless possessed this sense of the situation in their mind. A young man thinks doggedly at such times. On the other hand, the ethics of their condition was decidedly against any open suggestion of hopelessness. So they were silent.
"Oh, well," said the captain, soothing his children, "we'll get ashore
But there was that in his tone which made them think, so the oiler quoth:
"Yes! If this wind holds!"
Adapted from Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat" (1897)
"The wind tore through the hair of the hatless men" uses which literary device?
The correct answer is personification. The wind is given the human characteristic of tearing through something. The other options are incorrect: irony is a contrast between what is expected and what actually occurs, synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part represents a whole, and simile is a comparison between two things using the words "like" or "as."