Description: Use Craft and Structure to: Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (for example: satire, sarcasm, irony, or understatement).
Maps to Reading Plus skills: 6B


6B: Recognizing Persuasion

6B: Recognizing Persuasion

Description: Recognizing Persuasive Devices

✓ standard met

Selection: K-30


Grade level: 11
Word count: 2160 words
Author: Mark Twain
Synopsis: American humorist Mark Twain reflects on a specific experience as an editor.
Excerpt: "I wish to read aloud what must've triggered that instinct -- it was this editorial. Listen, and confirm it was you who authored it: 'Turnips should never be pulled, it injures them. It is much better to send a boy up and let him shake the tree.' Now, what do you think of that -- for I suppose you wrote it?"

"Think of it? Why, I think it's good; it makes sense. I have no doubt that every year millions upon millions of bushels of turnips are spoiled in this township alone by being pulled in a half-ripe condition, when, if they had sent a boy up to shake the tree --"

"Shake your grandmother!" the elderly gentleman exclaimed. "Turnips don't grow on trees!"

"Oh, they don't, don't they?" I replied "Well, who said they did? The language was intended to be figurative, wholly figurative; anybody who knows anything will presume I meant the boy should shake the vine."

The elderly gentleman got up, tore his paper into small shreds and stomped on them, and broke several things with his cane, and exclaimed I didn't know as much as a cow, and then went out and banged the door after him, and, in short, acted in such an absurd fashion that I reckoned he was displeased about something. But not knowing what the trouble was, I couldn't help him.

Question: Dramatic irony happens when the audience understands a situation but the character involved does not. Twain often used this device to convey humor. In this excerpt, the sentence, "But not knowing what the trouble was, I couldn't help him" is humorous because
  1. the elderly gentleman was clearly frustrated that Twain knew nothing about agriculture.
  2. the elderly gentleman was trying to disguise the fact that he envied Twain's position.
  3. Twain was widely regarded as a profitable and knowledgable farmer.
  4. Twain was quickly becoming bored by the elderly gentleman's complaints.

✓ standard met

Writing prompt: Give examples of the use of rhetoric in a selection and tell how it influenced your interpretation of the selection's ideas or themes.


Organization: Certica Solutions