Literary Devices Practice Exercises (page 2)

Updated on Aug 25, 2011

Exercise 4


Read the scenarios below and circle the ones that are ironic.

  1. Kevin really hated writing. He hated it so much that he finally decided to write a book about it.
  2. Liam woke up late, missed the bus, and failed his spelling test.
  3. Meg wanted to go to a concert, but her parents said she was grounded for the weekend. She secretly bought the ticket anyway, and as she was preparing to sneak out of the house, her parents knocked on her door. "Surprise!" they said. "You've been so good all week that we decided to buy you a ticket to that concert."


Exercise 1

Answers will vary. Here are some possibilities:

  1. Simile: He has a temper like a tornado.
  2. Metaphor: His temper is a tornado.

  3. Simile: She was running around like the Mad Hatter.
  4. Metaphor: She was the Mad Hatter.


You might have been tempted to say "She was running around like a chicken with its head cut off." True, this is a simile, but it's also a cliché—an overused phrase. Try to avoid clichés in your writing. Instead, come up with a fresh image.

Exercise 2

  1. c. See lines 10 and 11: "it bore an apple bright" / "my foe beheld it shine."
  2. a. See line 13: "And into my garden stole."
  3. b. You know the speaker's garden had a tree, and you know that this tree is a metaphor for the speaker's anger. You know that this tree had an apple, and you know that the poem is called "A Poison Tree." Finally, at the end of the poem, the foe is "outstretch'd beneath the tree." What do all of these clues add up to? The foe sneaked into the garden and ate the apple, but the apple was poisonous.

Exercise 3

  1. a. Line 2 repeats the /l/ sound in "lonely lands."
  2. b. The sea "crawls" like a baby or a turtle.
  3. c. Remember, a simile is a comparison using like or as. Here, the eagle is compared to a thunderbolt. This helps readers picture the eagle's flight. It also tells you something about the eagle—it's like an incredible force of nature.
  4. b. Tennyson compares the eagle to a thunderbolt to show how powerful and fast eagles are.
  5. a. People should feel great respect for eagles. This feeling is what the poem is all about.

Exercise 4

  1. Ironic. The character did the very opposite of what we (and he) expected him to do.
  2. Not ironic. The character had bad luck, but nothing happened that was the opposite of the reader's or the character's expectation.
  3. Ironic. The outcome of the situation was the opposite of what the character expected to happen.
View Full Article
Add your own comment

Ask a Question

Have questions about this article or topic? Ask
150 Characters allowed