An American Tragedy 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. What kind of shop does Short own?

2. What is the name of Clyde's rich uncle?

3. Where does Walter Dillard's uncle work?

4. What state is Oscar from?

5. Where do Roberta and Clyde plan to meet?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Clyde hope to achieve in his new position?

2. How does Dreiser use the crime to show the American class structure?

3. In what way does Clyde's behavior reflect American society?

4. In what way does the final chapter replay the opening chapter?

5. What do you think drives Clyde to pursue Sondra and ignore Roberta?

6. In what ways is Clyde becoming a less sympathetic character?

7. In what way does the landscape play an important part in chapter 29, book 1?

8. What important decision does Clyde make in chapter 40, book 2?

9. How does Clyde try to appeal to his rich friends?

10. How do the authorities react to Roberta's death?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

An American Tragedy is what is known as the great American novel. What is meant by the term great American novel? Are there any conventions of a great American novel? What other great American novels are there? What ideas and conventions do they share with an American Tragedy?

Essay Topic 2

An American Tragedy ends as it started with the Griffith family preaching on the streets with their young grandson Russell. What do you think will happen to Russell in the future? In what way can Mrs. Griffith stop Russell from turning out like Clyde? How important is a child's upbringing?

Essay Topic 3

An American Tragedy is written in three parts. Examine the structure of the novel.

1) In what way dos the first part show the importance of a child's upbringing?

2) What are the main themes of the second part of the novel?

3) Why do you think Clyde's character does not genuinely seek redemption in the final part of the novel?

(see the answer keys)

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