Each passage below contains one of the rhetorical devices from the previous section. Read each passage and answer the questions that follow.

An old, rusted truck in front of a building

Source: US66 abandoned truck, Marcin Wichary,
Wikimedia

Passage 1

It was something of a wonder that I noticed the pump, because there were, among other things, eight automobiles in the yard, two of them on their sides and one of them upside down, all ten years old or older. Around the cars were old refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, partly dismantled radios, cathode-ray tubes, a short wooden ski, a large wooden mallet, dozens of cranberry picker’s boxes, many tires, an orange crate dated 1946, a cord or so of firewood, mandolins, engine heads, and maybe a thousand other things.

—John McPhee, “The Pines”





Which device does this passage use?

Analogy
Try again.


Onomatopoeia
Try again.


Personification
Try again.


Enumeratio
Correct!

Which of the following responses best explains how the device in this passage adds to the reader’s aesthetic pleasure?

Correct!
The almost impossible collection of stuff in the front yard makes it feel like this list could go on forever and shows that the author was amazed, amused, and interested in exactly what specific items were in the “collection.”
Try again.
The items are all familiar to a reader and will make him or her feel more a part of the essay.
Try again.
We can tell from the list exactly what kind of person this man is and what specific interests he has. This list is almost like a biography in physical form so the author doesn’t have to describe anything about the subject’s past history.


A room with dingy wallpaper that bears a pattern of large, pink flowers

Source: Retro wallpaper, mark Weiwel, Flickr

Passage 2

The wall itself was papered in a flower pattern, and the wallpaper continued out across the ceiling and down the three other walls, lending the room something of the appearance of the inside of a gift box.

—John McPhee, “The Pines” 



Which device does this passage use?

Analogy
Correct!


Onomatopoeia
Try again.


Personification
Try again.


Enumeratio
Try again.

Which of the following responses best explains how the device in this passage adds to the reader’s aesthetic pleasure?

Try again.
The analogy shows that visiting this house would be like getting a gift. Everyone gets pleasure from a gift.
Correct!
The analogy both allows us to picture the room and gives us the writer’s impression that the room’s wallpaper is overpowering.
Try again.
The analogy gives pleasure because everyone knows what a gift box looks like and by bringing up gift boxes we are reminded of getting gifts from our friends and family.


Two pork chops frying in an iron skillet

Source: Extreme eating–pork chops, Simon Aughton, Flickr

Passage 3

Fred went into the kitchen and dropped a
chop into a frying pan that was crackling with hot grease.

—John McPhee, “The Pines” 


Which device does this passage use?

Analogy
Try again.


Onomatopoeia
Correct!


Personification
Try again.


Enumeratio
Try again.

Which of the following responses best explains how the device in this passage adds to the reader’s aesthetic pleasure?

Try again.
The person cooking the pork chops was attempting to make McPhee feel welcome. Knowing that such people exist makes a reader feel happy.
Try again.
The excerpt is almost like a quick cooking lesson. The grease has to be hot before you put in the pork chop. McPhee is able to suggest the right temperature with the word “crackling.”
Correct!
The excerpt summons our sense of hearing into the reading experience. McPhee could have communicated the same meaning without “crackling,” but the onomatopoeia creates an experience that a reader can relate to through hearing.


A dairy queen sign

Source: open cage, Flickr

Passage 4

If I couldn’t make it in my senior year of high school, why should I waste time and money in college? I’d beat fate to the door and begin my career at the hamburger stand directly.

—Carol Carter, “Write Your Own Success Story”



Which device does this passage use?

Analogy
Try again.


Onomatopoeia
Try again.


Personification
Correct!


Enumeratio
Try again.

Which of the following responses best explains how the device in this passage adds to the reader’s aesthetic pleasure?

Correct!
By representing “fate” as a person ready to open a door (to the future), Carter creates a visual image that communicates inevitability to the reader. Ideas presented in pictures are more pleasurable but are also usually easier to comprehend and longer lasting in our memories.
Try again.
Everyone loves hamburgers and by mentioning them, the author gives the reader the pleasure of anticipating the next time he or she can go to a burger stand and eat a nice juicy burger.
Try again.
The author is able to outwit fate. This gives readers the courage to “beat fate to the door” in other situations.


An empty pool hall

Source: Pool Hall in La Huerta, BO47, Flickr

Passage 5

The pool hall is a junior level country club where 'chucos, strangers in their own land, get together to shoot pool and rap, while veterans, unaware of the cracking, popping balls on the green felt, complacently play dominoes. . . .

—Robert Ramirez, “The Barrio.”


Which device does this passage use?

Analogy
Try again.


Onomatopoeia
Correct!


Personification
Try again.


Enumeratio
Try again.

Which of the following responses best explains how the device in this passage adds to the reader’s aesthetic pleasure?

Try again.
Ramirez could have used a visual image or a tactile image but uses sound instead. This is what gives the reader pleasure.
Try again.
The comic image of pool being played at a country club provides pleasure. Everyone knows that country clubs are for golf, tennis, or swimming.
Correct!
The sound inside the pool hall and the distinct sound of the pool balls hitting one another contrasts with the silence of the domino players.


A telegraph transmitter on top of a map

Source: Morse Code Straight Key J-38, Whiskeygonebad, Flickr

Passage 6

The fourth communications revolution–ours–began, perhaps, with the experiments
of Samuel Morse, Guglielmo Marconi and Thomas Edison in the 19th Century, and it
has been picking up steam ever since. Movies, recordings, radio, telephones, computers, photocopiers and fax machines are all part of it.

—Mitchell Stephens, “The Death of Reading.”


Which device does this passage use?

Analogy
Try again.


Onomatopoeia
Try again.


Personification
Try again.


Enumeratio
Correct!

Which of the following responses best explains how the device in this passage adds to the reader’s aesthetic pleasure?

Correct!
The list of specific items included in the “communications revolution” pleasingly makes clear how extensive and familiar the revolution has become.
Try again.
The list is pleasurable because it overwhelms us with information much like the revolution Stephens is writing about: there are far too many examples to make sense of. He gives us pleasure by confusing us.
Try again.
The list recreates the mechanical sound of an assembly line. Each item gets processed and handed down the conveyor belt as a new item appears. This is the world we live in; we need to be reminded to stop and smell the roses.

As you worked through this exercise, you should have noticed many responses that sounded good but didn’t make sense. Avoid writing responses that aren’t true to the text you are analyzing.

On the other hand, you also should also have noticed some techniques for responding that you can use in your own writing. You can write about a reader’s experience and how the use of stylistic and rhetorical devices enriches that experience. You can talk about imagery that adds humor or emotion to the reading. You can also talk about how an image brings us into an experience in a way that an abstract statement does not.

In the next section of this lesson, you are going to be challenged to write your own responses to an author’s use of these four devices.