Would this be an example of an allusion, metaphor, or suspense?"The cat was coming again to play with the mouse."  Would this be an example of an allusion, metaphor, or suspense?  Thanks.  

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clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I think there are lots of viable answers presented here, but has it been suggested that cats and mice do not "play" together?  This is most distinctly an example of personification, which is ultimately a type of metaphor.

Out of context, you have to look at the language on its own.  Though it is true that cats appear to "play" with their prey, at face value, this isn't the literal definition of the word "play."

So I say it is mostly an example of a metaphor.

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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We need more information about this quote, especially the context. As other editors point out, it could be a metaphor, depending on what the situation was. An example would be if it was actually refering to a situation like an older sibling coming back to torment a younger sibling. However, in either case, it would be an example of suspense, as the sentence makes us want to read on and find out precisely how the "cat" is going to play with the poor "mouse."

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Probably as has already been said, this would be a metaphor, but see note at end.

Allusion refers to a famous person, place or event. For example, He was the Van Gogh of his kindergarten art class, refers to Van Gogh and compares the talents of the two individuals. This is a form of figurative language.

Suspense is language that creates a sense of fear or dread by offering a description. The following quote from Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado" provides suspense as the reader moves along through the story:

“The nitre!” I said; “see, it increases. It hangs like moss upon the vaults. We are below the river's bed. The drops of moisture trickle among the bones.

A metaphor compares two dissimilar things as if they were the same. The two things described simply share similar characteristics. You are the sunshine of my life is a metaphor. The woman (or man) being described will not give you sunburn or melt the blacktop driveway in the summer, but he/she is probably warm, with a "sunny" disposition. In terms of "metaphor," some might consider this a metaphor, comparing the cat and the mouse to children playing.

Personally, I think I would be more apt to identify the example as personification. It gives human characteristics to non-human things. Cats and mice certainly do NOT "play." However, in that this choice is not given, I would go with "metaphor." (Had both choices been given, the answer would have been much harder, I would imagine.)

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Without context you can't say for sure, but the expression of "cat and mouse games" comes to mind.  As mentioned above, the metaphor is used to express when a strong one overcomes a weak one, but when cats go after the prey of mice they don't just attack in one fell swoop -- they "play" with it to death.  They will pounce and release, chase it around for awhile, bat it around, and eventually the poor victim is just beaten up to the point of death.  This metaphor suggests the long or at least drawn out 'battle' where eventually the weaker one will fail.  That the cat came back suggests that the mouse survived the first battle, but might not last this round.

stolperia's profile pic

stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Without setting the sentence into some sort of context, it's hard to say what the sentence means. There is no way of knowing details that would influence the interpretation of the sentence and its meaning. It might be a toy mouse, for all we know based upon the given sentence! My cat loves to attack its wind-up mouse.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There is also a curiosity connected to the suspense in the fact that the cat is returning "again" to play with its usual prey.  What kind of cat is this?  How did the cat and the mouse play last time, and will they repeat what they have done.  Is the mouse actually alive, or is the cat merely returning to toy with his dead catch as cats are often wont to do?

vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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I agree with both answers offered above.  I particularly agree that your best answer in this case, without any existing context, is "suspense." Since we ordinarily assume that a cat will attack, kill, and perhaps evenn eat a mouse, there is an element of suspense here. We wonder if the expected behavior will take place, especially since the sentence suggests that it may not take place. We wonder if the narrator knows something about this particular cat and mouse that we may not know.  There is, then, a (slight) element of suspense here.

litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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If you are not talking about an actual cat and mouse, it is a metaphor.  It can also be considered an idiom because we use the metaphor of a cat and mouse game to describe when a stronger party is toying with a weaker one.  An idiom is basically just a commonly used and understood metaphor.

bullgatortail's profile pic

bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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It is not an allusion (though there probably are stories in which a cat and mouse play; however, no particular example is mentioned) or metaphor, so your best answer would be "suspense." The sentence itself is not particularly suspenseful, but the idea of a cat returning to play with (and not eat) a mouse is certainly one that is interesting, and most people would like to hear more about this unusual pairing. So, there is an element of suspense in the sentence.

claudia-a's profile pic

claudia-a | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

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There is also a curiosity connected to the suspense in the fact that the cat is returning "again" to play with its usual prey.  What kind of cat is this?  How did the cat and the mouse play last time, and will they repeat what they have done.  Is the mouse actually alive, or is the cat merely returning to toy with his dead catch as cats are often wont to do?

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