Absalom, Absalom! Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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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. Why does Sutpen get arrested?

2. In Chapter 4, the reason why Henry rejects his family and his birthright is revealed. What is that reason?

3. What does Henry study at school?

4. Upon hearing that Judith is engaged, what does Rosa offer to teach Judith?

5. In what year does the novel begin?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Charles Etienne Saint-Valery Bon flaunt his very dark-skinned wife?

2. When did Sutpen tell the story of his childhood to General Compson?

3. In Chapter 8, what is meant by the fact that Quentin and Shreve feel as though there are four people in their dorm room?

4. What does Jason Compson identify as Henry's objection to Bon marrying Judith?

5. Several times throughout Chapter 4, Jason Compson mentions that Henry put Bon on "probation" for four years. What was the point of this probation?

6. In the final imagined scene of Chapter 8, Shreve and Quentin imagine what took place after Sutpen departed from the military camp, having just told Quentin about the true origin of Charles Bon. Henry tells Bon what Sutpen has told him. What does Charles tell Henry to do?

7. When Thomas Sutpen tells the story of his childhood to General Compson, he mentions that he lost his innocence when he went to the door of the planter's house and was told he must use the back door. What was the innocence in regard to?

8. What is the reader to imfer from the last paragraph of Chapter 1, which says that there were "two Sutpen faces," one Judith's and one a slave girl's, looking down at Sutpen fighting his slaves?

9. Why did Henry choose to reject his family and his birthright when his father forbade the marriage between Bon and Judith?

10. Why does Rosa take such an intense interest in Judith's wedding?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How can the fall of the Sutpen family be compared to the fall of the South? What is the relationship between the two declines?

Essay Topic 2

Jason Compson is one of the primary tellers of the Sutpen story. What is Jason Compson's role in this novel, in reader interpretation of the novel, and in Quentin's attitudes about the South?

Essay Topic 3

Describe the different narrative techniques used in the novel and what their effects are on reader interpretation. How much of the novel is factual and how much is speculation?

(see the answer keys)

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