John Henry Reading Comprehension
1. What auspicious signs marked the birth of John Henry as a special event of a more-than-human hero?
2. Find and explain one instance of a simile.
3. Find and explain an example of hyperbole.
4. Find and explain an example of personification.
5. Find and explain an example of a simile.
6. Find and explain two examples of how John Henry demonstrates his heroism.
7. Find and explain one example of hyperbole.
8. Describe John Henry's hammers. What might John Henry's hammers symbolize?
9. What do you suppose the boulder might symbolize?
10. What does the inability of the men to destroy the boulder with dynamite suggest?
11. What do you suppose John Henry's laughter in this story suggests?
12. Explain the significance of the simile: "The boulder shivered like the morning when freedom came to the slaves."
13. What might the ringing of John Henry's hammer suggest?
14. What might be the symbolic significance of the rainbow draped across John Henry's shoulders?
15. What might rain symbolize?
16. How does John Henry's feat with the boulder suggest heroism?
17. Why might the rainbow draped around John Henry be like love?
18. What might be the symbolic significance of John Henry facing-off against the steam drill?
19. What might the mountain symbolize?
20. Why might John Henry be compared to "a wish"?
21. What might it mean to say that John Henry's strength in his arms is like "wisdom"? What is wisdom? What might be John Henry's wisdom?
22. Explain the persistence of the rainbow image.
23. Why is it important to the story that John Henry beats the steam drill?
24. What is it about John Henry's death that points to his heroism?
25. Why is it significant that even the moon and the sun wept for John Henry?
26. What does it mean to say that "Dyin' ain't important. Everybody does that . What matters is how well you do your living." Do you agree? Explain why or why not.
27. Why does everyone celebrate the death of John Henry?
28. Why might the tale about John Henry's burial be significant?