1.2 Craft and Structure


Read the story below.

A Little Exaggeration
Sofia liked to exaggerate. “Just a little,” as she liked to say. Since her friends had long ago learned to believe only half of what she said, Sofia was always happy to meet someone new.
“Did I tell you about my cat?” she asked Ian, the new student in her art class.
Across the table, Eddie and Tejal rolled their eyes.
“He has to wear a bio-suit,” Sofia said.
“What’s a bio-suit?” asked Ian.
“Well, it looks kind of like the suits astronauts wear. You know, with a breathing helmet on top. My cat has to wear it all the time because my dad is allergic to his fur.”
“Sofia, your tales are taller than Paul Bunyan!” cried Eddie.


When Eddie says that Sofia’s tales are taller than Paul Bunyan, he is making a reference to another piece of literature. To find out what this piece of literature is and what the literary allusion means, read the folktale below.

Paul Bunyan and the Crooked River
Paul Bunyan was so tall that he took his baths in a lake and combed his beard with a pine tree. One day, as he and Babe, his giant blue ox, sat by a crooked river, it sprayed them with three thousand gallons of water. Paul decided to teach that river a lesson. He and Babe went to the North Pole and caught two blizzards. They went back to the crooked river and tied a blizzard on each side. When the river was frozen solid, he and Babe pulled it until it was as straight as an arrow. Paul sure taught that river a lesson!


As you have learned, Paul Bunyan is a character from an American folktale. He was exceptionally tall. When Eddie, the character in the story “A Little Exaggeration,” compares his friend’s made-up stories to Paul Bunyan, he means that her stories are very tall tales. And just like the exaggerated stories about Paul Bunyan, Sofia’s tales cannot be real.

Now click to practice with another literary allusion.