Mention some hyperbole in James Thurber's story "You Could Look it Up?"

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jmj616 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hyperbole is the literary term for exaggeration.  If you go fishing and come home and tell your family that you caught a bluefish that was 100 yards long, you are using hyperbole.

In James Thurber's short story, "You Could Look It Up," there are many examples of hyperbole.  Below are a few examples.

a) "He [the manager, Magrew] bad-mouthed everybody...including the Wright brothers, who, he claimed, had yet to build a airship big enough for any of our boys to hit it with a ball bat."

The Columbus baseball team in this story might be inept, but surely they could hit an airplane with a bat.

b) "So he [Magrew] was settin' there, tellin' this bartender how heart-breakin' it was to be manager of a bunch a blindfolded circus clowns"

The Columbus team does not actually consist of blindfolded circus clowns.

c) "'Come on in and see the greatest collection of freaks in the world! See the armless pitchers, see the eyeless batters, see the infielders with five thumbs!'"

Again, an exagerrated way of describing the Columbus team's lack of talent.

d) "'Don't shake hands with 'em, Pearl, 'cause their fingers is made of chalk and would bust right off in your paws.'"

This is an exaggerated way of saying that the players' hands are stiff and breakable, like chalk.

Read the study guide:
You Could Look It Up

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