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. Which girl at Ratterer's house does Clyde take a liking to?

2. Who does Sondra greet last?

3. How much money does Clyde make on his first task at the hotel?

4. What does Sparser say his job is?

5. Where does Walter Dillard's uncle work?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. In what way does Clyde keep his promise to Gilbert?

4. What are Clyde's main worries?

5. What is Clyde's view of his relationship with Roberta?

6. What part have truth and justice played in the novel?

7. In what way does poverty benefit the prosecutions case?

8. How does Clyde's life change when he finds the job at the hotel?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The novel depicts the class system in America in the twenties.

1) How and why was life changing for the working classes in twenties America? How difficult was it for a member of the working classes to make an impact on society?

2) What were the role of the upper classes in twenties America? How much control did they have?

3) Do you think there is still a recognizable class system in America? In what ways has it changed?

Essay Topic 2

Foreshadowing plays a big part in the novel. What is foreshadowing? How does Dreiser use foreshadowing in the novel? What affect does it have on the novel's meaning?

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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