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 room is Clyde asked to supervise?

2. Why does Clyde feel intimidated at the party?

3. What kind of shop does Short own?

4. What does Clyde think will impress Hortense about his current situation?

5. Where does Clyde visit at the beginning of chapter 34?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Mason ask for a special session of the grand jury?

2. How does Jephson boost Clyde's courage?

3. Describe the Griffith family.

4. How does Dreiser show Clyde and Roberta's fragmented thoughts?

5. How has Clyde reacted to killing Roberta?

6. How does hotel life contradict what Clyde has previously been taught by his family?

7. Describe how Clyde kills Roberta.

8. How has the accident in Kansas City changed Clyde for the better?

9. Why does Clyde accept McMillan's company?

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Choose one of the characters from the novel.

1) What is the character's background?

2) What is the character's motivation and goals?

3) What do you think the character adds to the story? How would the story change if the character was taken away?

Essay Topic 3

The book ends with Clyde being executed. What are your views on capital punishment? Why do you think society has become less tolerant of capital punishment?

(see the answer keys)

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