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Hyperbole and Paradox

Hyperbole and Paradox

Author: Ashli Hall

Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Interpret figures of speech (e.g., hyperbole, paradox) in context and analyze their role in the text.

This lesson is intended for an 11th grade English class. This lesson aims to help students identify figures of speech from examples and definitions that are easy to understand. Students are asked to identify examples of the two types in a short quiz, and they are then asked to apply their new knowledge to the current work being studied in class in order to bring the content of this online lesson to life by making it applicable to something familiar.

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Please work through the first three sections of the tutorial and then complete the Pop Quiz to the right.

After completion of the first three sections and the quiz, please move on to the "Applying Your Knowledge" section. Be prepared with your written work for next class period.

1. Overview of Five Figures of Speech

This link will take you to a short video that reviews Understatement and introduces you to Hyperbole and Paradox.


Source: LandowChannel. "Episode 6: Paradox, Understatement and Hyperbole." Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 5 July 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

2. Definitions of Figures of Speech

This link will take you to an excellent source that gives brief, simple descriptions of different figures of speech. For this assignment, please pay attention only to the following figures of speech: 


We will get to the other 18 in the future! You can use this page as a reference for the future, so bookmark it into your English folder.


Source: Nordquist, Richard. "Top 20 Figures of Speech.", 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

3. Why Figures of Speech Matter

Visit this link for an overview of the importance of figures of speech in writing. 

Source: Nordquist, Richard. "Importance of Figures of Speech.", 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.

5. Applying Your Knowledge

Question: What is the purpose of figures of speech in our current novel, The Great Gatsby in relation to our theme of the American Dream? In any of the chapters we have read this far, please choose one example you can find of either paradox or hyperbole, and write three paragraphs pertaining to the passage selected.

Paragraph 1: What is the figure of speech at work? How do you know it is that type of figure of speech? 

Paragraph 2: Who is being described or speaking/thinking this passage? Is this person usually described or found speaking/thinking in figures of speech? Try to find other examples that involve this character to prove this is an isolate incident of a figure of speech or that he usually does use other figures of speech (what are the other figures of speech?).

Paragraph 3: Tie this figure of speech to what we have been discussing about the novel. What does this passage say about this character's American Dream?