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

2. What is the name of Sparser's luxury vehicle?

3. What can factory girls never aspire to?

4. What does Ratterer order with his wine?

5. How is Samuel related to Asa Griffith?

Short Essay Questions

1. In what way is the political situation getting in the way of the trial?

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

3. What two taboos does Dreiser address in book 2, chapter 37?

4. What three taboos and social rules does Roberta learn in this chapter?

5. Why does the Governor grant Clyde a hearing?

6. Describe how Clyde kills Roberta.

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

8. Why does Clyde find it so difficult to provide for his family?

9. What do you think is Clyde's main weakness?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

An American is a famous book which has greatly influenced popular culture. Choose a film or book written after An American Tragedy that you think was influenced by the novel and discuss there similarities in terms of a) plot b) character c) themes.

Essay Topic 2

An American tragedy is written in a naturalistic style.

1) What are the elements of a naturalistic style?

2) Why do you think Dreiser uses a naturalistic style for this novel?

Essay Topic 3

Both Clyde and Roberta are restricted by their moral upbringings. Using two examples from the book discuss how their upbringings affect their decisions in the book. Do you think their moral upbringings were more destructive than helpful?

(see the answer keys)

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