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Test Your Knowledge of Literary Terms!

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

I gave this assignment to my AP literature class, so let's see how you can do on it.

Read the story I wrote below and in the comments below, write the correct definition that corresponds with the underlined phrase in the footnotes that follow.


The Field of Dreams field sits in Dyersville, Iowa. Photo by Kevin Kenealy


The Game

Part I - Only the words below will be used for Part 1. Some words may not be used.

Idiom Personification Mood Jargon Parallelism Onomatopoeia Oxymoron Omniscient Narrator Hypothetical Question Polysyndeton

The Rockets made the playoffs by the skin of their teeth[1].They finished a game under .500[2], and only made it in because the Hornets lost out their last three. Pitcher Matt Walsh recalled how that was the night fall decided it was winter. A cold wind bit his arm[3]like it was stabbing him with a knife. He didn’t know just how cold it was - 30s maybe, but cold enough that he could see his breath, and he knew that was too cold for baseball weather. He looked around the field, and noticed that he was the first one there. Nothing but deafening silence[4]surrounded him. He did arrive an hour early. He always did like getting there early. Baseball players had their superstitions, and Matt was no different. He needed to run the length of the fence in the outfield grass before he pitched every game. Baseball is “90 percent mental,” his dad used to say. It was cold, but it was quiet. “What if I left right now, and never came back?”[5]he thought. He thought about his home, of sitting in front of the TV, watching a movie, drinking hot chocolate[6]. As soon as Matt stepped foot on the field, however, those warm thoughts dissipated under the buzz[7]of the warm luminescent lights. He preferred day games, but there was something magical about playing under the lights, as if the rest of the park had gone to sleep except those that came to watch and play that game. It was a carnival in the middle of a park. Come one, come all, come see the Rockets take on the Bulldogs. Tonight only!

Part 2 Only the words below will be used for Part 2. Some words may not be used.

Litotes Malapropism Maxim Metonymy Paraphrase Literary License Pedantic Point of View Pun Rhetorical Question

Little by little, Matt’s teammates showed. If a game under the lights was a carnival, that team was a circus. Matt later thought how amazing it was that his team won any games at all that year. They didn’t have a lot of talent, and most importantly, they didn’t have a lot of confidence. What they did have was each other. They liked each other, and had more team culture than yogurt.[8]At least, that’s what first basemen Sam Heiss would say. He’s always saying corny jokes like that.

Sam, along with Diamond and Jo Jo, came waltzing up to Matt with their bat bags and gloves. Well, Sam came waltzing up and Diamond and Jo Jo jogged. Sam never was in a hurry to get anywhere. To say that he was a little slow would be an understatement.[9]Sam once hit a fly ball to the fence, but instead of running to first right away, he stared at the ball in amazement. He got tagged out rounding second, much to Coach Williams’ and the team’s disappointment. Diamond’s full name was Gunther Diamond. But Gunther? He wasn’t even German. So Diamond seemed like a better fit for him. And the team called the right fielder ‘Jo Jo’ so long they forgot his real name - Jonathan Johnson.

Diamond never worked a job until college. He had brains though. Students paid him money to reword their English homework[10], and he did it - for $25 a pop. He wanted to be a sports reporter, and always told the team an in-depth analysis about what happened each game. Most of the time they told him to shove it. He often quipped back with some sort of wise adage like “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.[11]

Jo Jo always tried to one-up Diamond’s adages, but he always fell flat on his face. The last time he said one of these things, Jo Jo said, “A rolling stone gathers no moths.[12]” “You mean moss?” Matt asked. Half the team busted out laughing, and Jo Jo stomped away like a toddler.

Matt’s brother Riley Walsh showed last. The Walsh brothers rode together up to the last game of the season. It was the game before that Matt lost his cool and fist fought his brother following another loss. Team Captain Matt Walsh grew tired of Riley’s lack of sportsmanship, maturity, love for the game - whatever you want to call it. Riley threw his bat in the dugout to end the game, and something inside Matt snapped like a branch in a thunderstorm. He threw the most unexpected punch anyone on the team had ever seen. Riley retailated, got one in himself and ripped Matt’s jersey. A definite low point for the season[13]. So seeing Riley walk right by Matt without saying so much as a word came as no surprise to anyone. One might ask, “Is baseball America’s pastime?”[14]

Part 3 Only the words below will be used for Part 3. Not all words will be used.

Philippic Paradox Parable Myth Motivation Invective

Inductive Reasoning Inference Legend Plot

The Bulldogs arrived not much later than Riley. Matt hated the Bulldogs. They lost to them 17-1 on their first game, and the Bulldog players and fans let them know they lost. [15]They were lambs to the slaughter, literally. That game enacted the slaughter rule, and the Rockets couldn’t have been more grateful. They must have had twice the amount of players, and a couple extra coaches. Their equipment was brand new, and so were their cars. They came from the other side of the tracks.[16]They belonged to private schools, and even though they were only in high school, their lives were already on easy street.

Diamond looked at Sam, Matt, and Jo Jo with a glum look on his face.

“Well, fellas, this is the beginning of the end.[17]

“What are you talking about Numb Nuts?[18]” Jo Jo said back.

“They might as well be the gods of Olympus and we’re mere mortals[19]. They got Stephens pitching. He’s warming up. We had one hit against him last time. One.”

“Aw, shut up Diamond,” Sam said.

All I’m saying is if Stephens is pitching and he throws his curveball like he did before, he will throw his curveball today. And if he throws his curveball today, we’re going to strike out again[20].”

Sam and Jo Jo shook their heads, annoyed.

“All I’m saying is that we need a miracle. Like that story Jesus tells about the mustard seed. What was the meaning behind that...faith or something or other?[21]

“Yeah. So have faith in your team Diamond!” Matt yelled.

The players settled in the dugout, Coach Williams handed the ump their roster, and the game was ready for the first pitch.

Part 4 Only the words below will be used for Part 4. Not all the words will be used.

Hyperbole Implication Flat Character Foreshadowing Motif

Hubris Rhetoric Rhetorical Devices Imagery Limerick

Three up, three down in the first. The Rockets batters all struck out looking on Stephens’ curve ball, and he strutted off the field with a proud, puffed up chest[22]. He didn’t have to say anything for the Rockets to know that he was full of himself.

Matt similarly strutted out to the mound at the bottom of the first, but he did so not of pride, but out of confidence, confidence in himself, and in his team. Matt kicked up the dirt with the tip of his spikes, and rubbed some dirt on his thigh for good luck[23]. Whatever bitter cold he felt pregame was gone now, replaced with a feverish rush to strike out every single Bulldog hitter he faced. That wish evaporated after the first pitch when Bulldog hitter Stanley Marcus belted his two-seam fastball over the right-field fence and into another zip code[24]. He didn’t throw it where he wanted. He clenched his teeth, shook his head and straightened his cap. He wouldn’t make the same mistake again.

The next three batters went down swinging, and Matt left the mound with his head held high. As he sauntered off the field, he murmured an adapted version of “Hickory Dickory Dock” to himself. “Hickory dickory dock. The mouse ran up the clock. The clock struck one, And we’re down one run. Hickory dickory dock.[25]” Matt always got weird things like that stuck in his head. He smiled as he did so, and when Coach Williams saw him with a grin on his face, Matt said,“We’re going to win this one.”[26]

“That’s what I want to hear Matt,” he said. And he smiled back.

Part 5 Only the words below will be used for Part 5. Not all words will be used.

Resolution Narrative Narrator Pathos Limited Narrator

Legend Parody Genre Juxtaposition Metaphor

The game bounced back and forth trading strikeouts, but it didn’t matter since the score still read 1-0. As each inning passed, the Rockets lost even more of their depleted confidence in themselves. Their backs hunched and some of their frowns could mirror a sad clown. With the exception of a two-out walk in the third, Stephens struck out every batter he faced. No one could hit his curveball that night. And every hitter he struck out, their fans applauded louder and louder. It might as well have been the world series to those people the way they clapped their hands and stomped their feet on the metal bleachers. Each one of their handclaps and foot stomps was a dart in the Rockets’ confidence[27].

Matt and Riley made it their mission to sit at opposite ends of the dugout now. Even when Matt got up to bat, Riley no longer cheered him on from the on-deck circle. They were a blessing and a curse to the team[28]- a blessing because they were the Rocket’s two highest performers, but a curse because they were supposed to be the leaders on the team, and were anything but. No one knew who to look to any longer for a pick-me-up or a talking to. Coach was so passive he could blow over in the wind.

The Rockets were one out away from playoff elimination. Matt stepped up to the plate, with a grin. He pictured Stephens as the young pitcher in Rookie of the Year, the movie about the twelve-year-old Cubs’ pitcher who threw 100 mph because of a freak elbow injury. But then he lost his speed after tripping on a baseball.[29]Stephens cocked his head at the grin before adjusting his cap as Matt settled into the box. Just like he did on the mound, Matt scraped the dirt with his feet and wiped some dirt on his thigh. He had seen the curve all day, from the box and from the dugout. He wanted it. He wanted it more than a million dollars at that moment. Stephens fired in a heater on the first pitch for a called strike. Matt didn’t like the call, and noticed the catcher smirk up at him. Matt stepped out of the box for a second and closed his eyes. He thought back to playing ball with his brother in his driveway growing up. He thought about how much of a bond they had then, how much fun that was. All of his stress, his worries melted at that moment, and on the next pitch, came the curve. He saw the spin right off - slow and easy. It was going to break right over the plate. He didn’t hesitate, and when that Loisville Slugger bat hit the ball, it hit it on the sweetest of the sweet spots. Matt took off like Speedy Gonzales. He could hear the air get sucked out of their crowd and the joyful screams from his teammates all at once. They banged on the dugout fence and their low confidence suddenly got a full refill.

When Riley stepped up, Stephens looked a bit shaken. His coach gave him a mound visit, and their crowd rallied him on. Their rally didn’t last long as Riley hit one hard down the left field line - a double, scoring his brother Matt. Matt and Riley’s hit followed up with two more hits - one from Sam and one from Jo Jo before the inning was through on a strikeout from Diamond. The Rockets were up, 2-1.

Matt’s heart beat almost out of his chest. They were so close. The tide had turned. The once proud Bulldogs backs were against the ropes and their fans were silenced. After securing the first out, however, Matt loaded the bases on three consecutive walks. Coach Williams visited the mound.

“I’m not coming out. We’re going to win this thing. I told you,” Matt said.

Williams could see it in his face. He knew he was a winner. He left him in.

But Williams leaving Matt in that game is not what helped him face the next batter or the one after that. It was his brother, yelling at him from center.

“Come on bud. You got this!”[30]

Matt and Riley hadn’t talked in three weeks. That bode of confidence from Riley gave it that little something extra. Matt struck out the next two hitters on six pitches. It was done. Riley threw his glove in the air like he was graduating high school and mauled his brother on the mound, along with the rest of the team.

The Rockets didn’t advance anymore in the playoffs, but it didn’t matter. Matt and Riley played baseball all throughout high school and college, but that single game in the bitter cold in their junior year was the only game that really mattered. It was the game that made them brothers again. It was the game that made them more than a team. It was the game that made them believe in themselves.

[1]__________________________ [2]__________________________ [3]__________________________ [4]__________________________ [5]__________________________ [6]__________________________ [7]__________________________ [8]__________________________ [9]__________________________ [10]__________________________ [11]__________________________ [12]__________________________ [13]__________________________ [14]__________________________ [15]__________________________ [16]__________________________ [17]__________________________ [18]__________________________ [19]__________________________ [20]__________________________ [21]__________________________ [22]__________________________ [23]__________________________ [24]__________________________ [25]__________________________ [26]__________________________ [27]__________________________ [28]__________________________ [29]__________________________ [30]__________________________ Question 31-50: What is the overall plot of the story? Explain the exposition, rising action, climax, and resolution.

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