English 6 Historical Fiction The Slave Dancer
Figurative Language
The Slave Dancer is particularly rich in figurative language such as metaphors, similes
and personification or hyperboles, which the author uses to describe Jessie's new
A metaphor is an implied comparison. That means that the comparison is not
really stated directly. For example: "My dad is a bear."
A simile is a comparison that uses "like" or "as". For example "Bob runs like a
deer" or "she's as sweet as candy."
Personification gives human characteristics to objects or events. For example
(from Chapter 3): "daylight was being born.”
A hyperbole is a deliberate and wild exaggeration. For example: "I've told you a
million times!"
Activity 1 *Directions: Decide if each of the following is a metaphor (M) a simile (S),
a personification (P), or a hyperbole (H). Write the letter for your answer on the line
_________1. Jessie found out quickly that the sailors didn't smell like Sunday morning.
_________2. A gull, like a puff of smoke, flew across the bow.
_________3. The smell of the ship had been nourished by darkness.
_________4. Jessie's knees turned to pudding.
_________5. Jessie curled up like a worm.
_________6. "We'll have a ship full of royalty," said the Captain.
_________7. Purvis opened his mouth so wide he looked like an alligator.
_________8. "What a fearful runt,” shouted the Captain.
_________9. The hammock curled around Jessie like a peapod.
_________10. Stout claimed that the ship was speaking to him.
_________11. "I'm a neat packer!" roared the Captain. "As neat as a pin."
_________12. "I stack them up like flannel cakes."
_________13. "You're as deaf as a post!" Purvis exclaimed.
_________14. Jessie knew that if he didn't do as he was told, he'd get skinned.
_________15. Every fear found in hell was in Jessie's mind.
_________16. The tears fell in rivers down Jessie's face.
Activity 2 *Directions: Now try inventing your own examples for #1-4 of hyperbole,
simile, metaphor and personification. Do not use expressions you have heard or read
before. For each character or topic you must list an example for each type- S, P, M, H.
You may use a separate sheet of paper.
Example: The Ship
Simile: The ship was tossed around in the storm like a ball in a swimming pool.
Personification: The sky hung so low that the masts of the ship seemed to scratch it.
Metaphor: To Jessie the ship was nothing but a chariot of doom.
Hyperbole: The wind drove the ship with the speed of a thunderbolt.
1. Jessie
3. The ocean
2. The Captain
4. Loneliness