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Warm Up. Figure out each Rebus puzzle below. Based on the clues in each box, come up with a name, work or phrase for that box. Example: = Head over Heels. Warm Up Answers. History repeats itself You’re under arrest Update Point blank range Walk in the park.

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Warm up
Warm Up

  • Figure out each Rebus puzzle below. Based on the clues in each box, come up with a name, work or phrase for that box.

  • Example: = Head over Heels

Warm up answers
Warm Up Answers

  • History repeats itself

  • You’re under arrest

  • Update

  • Point blank range

  • Walk in the park


  • Define the concept of theme and identify the theme(s) in a story.

  • Identify and explain the use of figurative language in short stories.

  • Identify and explain the use of symbols/symbolism in short stories.

Similes and metaphors
Similes and Metaphors

  • Similes and Metaphors

  • In this lesson, you'll discover two ways authors use specific words to add interest to their writing.

  • SIMILES AND METAPHORS are two more kinds of figurative language that authors use to add interest to their writing.


  • A simile compares two things by using the words like or as.

  • Example 1

  • I was so embarrassed; my face was as red as a beet!

  • How can the author compare a person's face to a vegetable? They're so different! True, but they are alike in one way: Both are red. Picturing this can help you visualize the character and understand his or her motives in a story.


  • Here are few more similes. What do they help you visualize?

  • You and I are as alike as two peas in a pod!

  • She is as quiet as a mouse.

  • His sadness was as unending as the waves crashing on shore.

  • I know I can trust him; he's as honest as the day is long.

  • I can't get her to do anything; she's as stubborn as a mule!


  • A metaphor compares two things without using like or as. The text states that one thing is, or has the characteristics of, another.

  • Example 2

  • The dog's eyes were searchlights, looking for any sign of kindness.

  • Is the author tying to get you to picture a dog with huge searchlights for eyes? No, the author wants you to visualize a poor dog staring intently, looking for kindness from a stranger.


  • Here are a few more metaphors. What do you visualize with each?

  • Night is a curtain that eventually falls.

  • The quarterback is a well-maintained machine.

  • She is a beacon of light, guiding us home.

  • Strength and honor are his uniform.

  • Silence is an invited guest, allowing me time to think.

  • Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Simile and metaphor practice
Simile and Metaphor Practice.

Practice 1: Word Rhymes: Here are three very short four-line rhymes that contain similes and metaphors. Read each, and then answer the questions that follow.

The breeze is a messenger,

As sweet as roses in bloom,

That fills all the corners

Of my lonely room.

The sky is a blanket

Bejeweled with diamonds so bright

That twinkle and sparkle

Like fireflies at night.

The street is a river

On which traffic can flow

Where cars scurry like fish

And swish to and fro.

Simile and metaphor practice1
Simile and Metaphor Practice.

1. In the first rhyme, the author uses a simile to compare a

a. fish to the scent of a rose.

b. breeze to the sweet smell of roses.

c. messenger to a lonely room.

d. lonely room to a windstorm.

2. Which of these is NOT a metaphor?

a. The breeze is a messenger.

b. The sky is a blanket.

c. like fireflies at night

d. he street is a river.

3. How does the author use a simile in the last rhyme?

a. to compare the street to a river

b. to compare cars to fish

c. to compare stars to fireflies

d. to compare roses to traffic

Simile and metaphor practice3
Simile and Metaphor Practice.

  • On your own piece of paper, answer the questions based on the two examples on the handouts provided. There are 10 multiple choice questions total.

Simile and metaphor practice4
Simile and Metaphor Practice.


4. d

5. c

6. a

7. d

8. b

9. c

10. d

11. b

12. d

13. c

Symbols and symbolism
Symbols and Symbolism

A symbol is something that represents something else, either by association or by resemblance. It can be a material object or a written sign used to represent something invisible.Language itself is a system of spoken or written symbols by which we communicate. Every word is a symbol; the five letters that form the word 'chair' represent a sound as well as a physical object. In writing, symbolism is the use of a word, a phrase, or a description, which represents a deeper meaning than the words themselves. This kind of extension of meaning can transform the written word into a very powerful instrument. On the following pagse we'll first describe some common types of symbols that illustrate how symbols can be used, and then we'll show you how symbolism is used in writing with some familiar examples.


Religious SymbolismReligious symbolism is the use of text, images, procedures, or actual physical objects to represent an idea or belief. The most common example is the use of objects to symbolize the faith itself, as in the use of a cross to represent Christianity, or the Star of David to represent Judaism.

There are many more symbols used in religion. For example, in Christianity the sacraments (holy communion, baptism, ordination and marriage) are symbols of spiritual change in the participants. In communion, the bread and wine are symbolic of the body and shed blood of Jesus, which are themselves also symbolic of the salvation of the recipient.

Other Christian symbols include the dove (symbolic of the Holy Spirit), and the sacrificial lamb (symbolic of Christ's sacrifice).


Political SymbolismPolitical symbolism is often used to represent a political standpoint. It can take the form of banners, acronyms, pictures, flags, mottos, and many other things.For example, the Canadian flag contains a maple leaf, which has long been a symbol of things Canadian. The two bars represent both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans which bound the country on either side, and the two founding cultures, English and French. The mid-20th century German Nazi Party made extensive use of graphic symbols. These included the swastika, the eagle, the iron cross, and the dual lightning bolts (the symbol of the SS) pictured at the left. It should be obvious from these two examples that symbols can also evoke strong emotions, be they feelings of patriotism, as in the case of a flag, or anger, hatred and fear in the case of Nazi symbolism.


Colour SymbolismSimple colours can also be symbolic, depending on your location, or the context in which they are used. Red, white and blue are symbolic of all things American. Green has come to represent anything which is environmentally friendly. Colours can represent different things depending on where you live. For example, in Asian countries, red symbolizes happiness, marriage, and prosperity; in some countries the colour of mourning is white.


Architectural SymbolismThe design of some buildings is meant to be symbolic. The building in the picture at the right is the Canadian War Museum. The front of the building represents the bow of ship, symbolizing our navies and the role they played in wartime. The windows on the this roof are also symbolism, albeit in a more subtle form; they spell out, in Morse Code, the English and French phrases "Lest we forget" and "N'oublionsjamais".


Advertising SymbolismJust as in any media, symbolism is used extensively in advertising. A good example, with which you are certainly familiar, is the use of actors dressed in white lab coats who are discussing the merits of a product in a laboratory setting. These symbols of the medical profession are meant to imply that the product has been approved by and has the support of doctors or medical scientists.


Mathematical SymbolismSymbols used in mathematics can represent numbers, operations, sets, or many other things. This is perhaps the simplest kind of symbolism. Some common mathematical symbols include + for the operation of addition, or pi for the transcendental number 3.14159... , and a host of others.

Symbols in literature
Symbols in Literature

  • In literature, symbolism is used to provide meaning to the writing beyond what is actually being described. The plot and action that take place in a story can be thought of as one level, while the symbolism of certain things in the writing act on another level to enhance the story. Symbolism can take place by having the theme of a story represented on a physical level. A simple example might be the occurrence of a storm at at critical point, when there is conflict or high emotions. The storm might symbolize these. Similarly a transition from day to night, or spring to winter, could symbolize a move from goodness to evil, or hope to despair. A river in a scene could represent the flow of life, from birth to death. Flowers can symbolize youth or beauty. Not everything in a story is necessarily symbolic. A garden landscape is just a garden ... until it is contrasted with a bustling city, at which point the garden could symbolize tranquility, peace, or escape.

Symbols in literature1
Symbols in Literature

Let's look at some actual examples of symbolism used in literature and other media, with which you might be familiar. In Citizen Kane, a child's sled symbolizes the lost innocence of childhood ... although you don't realize this until the end of the movie.

  • In the novel Animal Farm, the entire story is a symbol for the evils of communism, with the main animal characters representing key figures in the Russian revolution. The novel can be read entirely as a children's story, but when you come to realize what the various elements and characters in the story symbolize, the novel takes on a whole new meaning. That's why this particular work has become such a classic. This kind of story is called an allegory.

  • In The Lord of the Flies, Ralph with his conch shell represents order and democracy, while Jack symbolizes savagery and anarchy. The island itself symbolizes the world in which we live, and the actions of the characters are symbolic of the way different people conduct their lives. The beast represents the darker side of human nature.

  • The movie series Star Wars has been described as symbolic of faith and religion in our world overcoming evil.

  • The song I Hope You Dance by Lee Ann Womack is full of symbolism. The song isn't really about dancing at all ... dancing is a symbol for getting the most out of life. When she sings '"I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance", the mountains symbolize our fears about the future, or obstacles in life we must overcome.

  • The play MacBeth by William Shakespeare uses blood, both real and imagined, as a symbol of guilt, both of MacBeth and Lady MacBeth. Another symbol used in the play is a raven, which usually represents ill fortune.

  • The Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling could be seen as containing a lot of symbolism, although there are as many interpretations as there are creatures in the books! (The author isn't saying). One clear example is a commonly used one; the use of a snake to represent evil. It is no coincidence that the symbol of Slytherin House is a serpent.

The scarlet ibis by james hurst
The Scarlet Ibisby James Hurst

Feature Menu

Introducing the Story

Literary Focus: Symbols

Reading Skills: Making Inferences from Details

The scarlet ibis by james hurst1
The Scarlet Ibisby James Hurst

The scarlet ibis introducing the story
The Scarlet IbisIntroducing the Story

I thought myself pretty smart at many things . . .

The scarlet ibis introducing the story1
The Scarlet IbisIntroducing the Story

In “The Scarlet Ibis” the narrator tells of his experience growing up with his physically disabled brother, Doodle, on a farm in the South.

  • The narrator develops a bond with his younger brother and teaches him to walk. But he learns a tragic lesson when he pushes Doodle too hard.

I did not know then that pride is a wonderful, terrible thing, a seed that bears two vines, life and death.

—from “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst

[End of Section]

The scarlet ibis literary focus symbols
The Scarlet IbisLiterary Focus: Symbols

A symbol is an object, event, person, or animal that stands for something more than itself.

  • Symbols are all around you in your everyday life. Their special meanings have been handed down over time.

The scarlet ibis literary focus symbols1
The Scarlet IbisLiterary Focus: Symbols

In literature, symbols add deeper levels of meaning to a work.

  • A writer might take a regular object or event and make it stand for some human concern.

  • Sometimes a symbol is associated with a particular character.

Symbols speak to the reader’s emotions and imagination. They make stories memorable.

The scarlet ibis literary focus symbols2
The Scarlet IbisLiterary Focus: Symbols

In “The Scarlet Ibis,” you’ll notice similarities and links between one character and a bird.

  • Pay attention to how the author makes a symbolic connection between the character and the bird.

  • This symbolism can help deepen your understanding of the character.

[End of Section]

The scarlet ibis reading skills making inferences from details
The Scarlet IbisReading Skills: Making Inferences from Details

As you read a story, you make inferences, or educated guesses, about what the writer is trying to say.

  • You can base your inferences on your own prior knowledge and on evidence from the text.

  • Prior Knowledge

  • about how stories work

  • about your own life experiences

  • Evidence from Text

  • descriptions

  • setting

  • dialogue




The scarlet ibis reading skills making inferences from details1
The Scarlet IbisReading Skills: Making Inferences from Details

One way to make better inferences is to notice important details in the story.

  • Details may seem insignificant at first, but most writers choose details carefully to help convey a certain meaning or message.

  • Colors, seasons, names, times, objects, animals, and clothing—almost any little thing can help you make inferences about meaning.

The scarlet ibis reading skills making inferences from details2
The Scarlet IbisReading Skills: Making Inferences from Details

Pay attention to details as you read “The Scarlet Ibis,” and practice making inferences. Keep track of the little things:







What larger meanings can you infer from these details?

[End of Section]

Scarlet ibis questions
Scarlet Ibis Questions

Answer each of the following questions using complete sentences.

  • What might the “bleeding tree” symbolize? What do we associate with the colour red?

  • What details from the third paragraph tells you that the story takes place in the past?

  • What comparison does the author make in the third paragraph? What type of figurative language is it? What does it tell you about his bother?

  • In the 4th paragraph, what does the narrator want?

  • Why is it important to the narrator that his brother is “all there”?

  • What comparison (2nd paragraph on page 417) does the narrator make regarding his brother? What type of comparison is it?

  • Answer the yellow box question #1

  • Why doesn’t Aunt Nicey like Doodle’s nickname? What do you think about the narrator nicknaming his little brother?

  • What inference can you make about Doodle based on his reaction to the swamp?

Scarlet ibis questions1
Scarlet Ibis Questions

10. The narrator says “at times I was mean to Doodle” , write at least three examples.

11. After reading about how the brother’s trip to the swamp ends (top right column on pg. 418), what might it foreshadow?

12. What does the narrator mean when he says, “I did not know then that pride is a wonderful, terrible thing… death.

13. Answer the yellow box question #2 on pg. 419

14. What do you think the cardinal they see symbolizes? (pg 419)

15. After finishing reading pg. 419, do you think the narrator judges himself too harshly? Explain your answer.

16. Why do you think Doodle lies on pg. 421?

17. Do you think the narrator’s goals for Doodle will be realized? Why or why not? (pg 421 top right hand column)

Scarlet ibis questions2
Scarlet Ibis Questions

18. What type of figurative language is used to describe “promise” on pg 421?

19. If summer is a symbol of what is to come, what do you think may lie in Doodle’s future?

20. Answer yellow box question #3 on pg. 422.

21. In the opening of the story, the narrator refers to the “clove of season” and he refers to it again on pg 422 (bottom left column). Why might he repeat this phrase here?

22. What might Daddy’s comment about the weather, at the bottom of pg. 422, foreshadow?

Scarlet ibis questions3
Scarlet Ibis Questions

23. Describe the bird that lands in the bleeding tree. What might the fact that the bird landed in that particular tree symbolize/foreshadow? (pg. 423)

24. The physical details of Doodle’s response to the bird seems to unsettle the narrator. What does the description hint at? (pg. 423)

25. What are the two things compared in the simile at the top of pg. 424?

26. Answer the yellow box Question #4. (pg 424)

27. Answer the yellow box question #5. (pg. 424)

28. Look at the two settings described at the bottom of pg 424 and the top of pg. 425. what is the contrast between these two scenes? What might it foreshadow?

29. What does Doodle do on pg. 425 that disappoints the narrator so much?

30. The word “solder” means to repair by melting metal and dripping it on an object. Why do you think the narrator didn’t’ say anything to Doodle?

30. What does Doodle yell to the narrator when the narrator begins to run from the storm? What is the narrator’s reaction?

31. Answer yellow box question #6.

32. What is the metaphor at the end of the story?

33. In what ways can the ibis be a symbol for Doodle? Think about: the resemblance between the two, Doodle’s reactions to the bird, both of their struggles to survive and the similarities between their deaths.