Between the World and Me Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Ta-Nehisi Coates
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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 difference does the author see between his childhood and that of his son?

2. According to the author, there is no difference between his son and which murdered 17-year-old?

3. Who said, "Either I can beat him, or the police"?

4. What is "the Yard"?

5. What does the author tell his son about responsibility?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the author's interpretation of "The Dream"?

2. For what reasons did the author's father punish him and why?

3. How did fear shape the author's childhood?

4. According to the author, what is the purpose of the public school system?

5. What assumptions does the author make about PG County (Prince George's County) police officers and why?

6. According to the author, how have American police departments been given the right to destroy black bodies without the fear of recrimination?

7. What role did religion play in the author's childhood?

8. How does the author compare his childhood to that of his son?

9. How does the author use poetry to express his thoughts?

10. What influence did Malcom X have on the author as a young man?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The author states that when he was troubled or afraid, “I could not retreat, as did so many, into the church and its mysteries.” (page 28) How did Coates use academic study as a balm to soothe the chaos surrounding his life? In the same section he also says that he had “no sense that any just God was on my side”. Whom or what did the author use in lieu of a spiritual guide? Did he find a sense of inner peace with his books? Explain your answer citing examples from the memoir.

Essay Topic 2

The author often refers to white people as those who "believe themselves white." He also speaks often of dissociation. How might the concept of race and dissociation be related in America today? Is race a genetic or social construct?

Essay Topic 3

The author spends a great deal of time describing his Mecca, Howard University, as an escape from the fear that once plagued his life as a child on the streets of Baltimore. Keeping in mind that Howard is a private university that not every student can afford, what other Meccas might exist in America that could parallel the author's experience? Are there other places or experiences that could provide a similar bond of safety and community for the black student? If so, what? Is the author's Mecca a physical place or a state of mind? Explain your answer citing examples from the author's work.

(see the answer keys)

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