A Fistful of Fig Newtons Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Jean Shepherd
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. In addition to the Statue of Liberty, what else does the narrator think is an American construct of false Utopia?

2. What insects do the boys disturb on a hike with Captain Crabtree?

3. What is the narrator talking about when he says that one man sneezing blew the top off his next door neighbor's sandwich?

4. Who emerges as the ne'er-do-well leader of the Beavers?

5. In what format does the narrator recall the information about writers?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does the narrator's experience on the troop train parallel his journey through the Lincoln Tunnel and how does he cope with such circumstances?

2. How did the narrator's army experience separate him from the world?

3. How did Captain Crabtree manage the situation with the reluctant fat Chipmunk?

4. Why does the narrator question his impatience to get through the tunnel?

5. Why does the book never mention the narrator's wartime experiences?

6. How does New Jersey symbolize American culture for the narrator?

7. What prompts the narrator to think of his childhood summer camp days?

8. How did the narrator conquer the tailgater just by using his mental prowess?

9. What prompts the narrator to recall his college days?

10. What happened to Big Al during the contest and what does the narrator realize about Umbaugh's actions years later?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Explain how the narrator is always positioned as an "everyman" in each of the stories. Define what is meant by "everyman" and cite two examples in which the narrator assumes this role. Was he comfortable knowing he was neither brain nor brawn, but a curious observer? Explain.

Essay Topic 2

One of the most striking characteristics of Shepherd's writing was his complete honesty. Explain why this is necessary to complete a book of this nature. Would a reader be able to see through fabrications and falsehoods in a book like this? Describe why this format is the perfect for Shepherd's personality.

Essay Topic 3

Describe the overall settings for the stories. What is important about each setting as it is revealed? What are the time periods of the stories? How important are the time periods to the attitudes and issues of the people?

(see the answer keys)

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