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. According to the author, navigating the streets of Baltimore is like a:

2. How does the author describe Malcolm X?

3. According to the author, what do many of his black contemporaries have in common?

4. According to the author, it is important that whether one wins or loses the fight, who should be by your side?

5. According to the author, slavery transfigured black bodies into:

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What is the symbolism behind the author's son's name?

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

4. What does the author mean when he says the school system and the streets are "two arms of the same beast"?

5. How does the author define the word "black"?

6. What does the author mean when he asks: "How do I live free in this black body?"

7. Why did the author's son experience such extreme grief when Michael Brown's killer was set free?

8. Why did the author's mother encourage him to write?

9. What is meant by "Tolstoy is the Tolstoy of the Zulus?"

10. According to the author, why is America blind to it's racially defined shortcomings?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

As Coates drives away from Dr. Jones' elegant home, he passes though a ghetto. What does this ghetto symbolize to the author? What similarities does he draw between black Americans of all socioeconomic classes? What conclusions can you draw about Coates' view of "The American Dream"?

Essay Topic 2

When the killer of Michael Brown was set free, Samori (the author's son) was overwrought with anger and sorrow. The author could not bring himself to console his son, although he did sit with him as Samori grieved. Why did Coates find himself unwilling to console his son? Why were things "not going to be okay"? What lesson was Coates trying to teach his son in that moment?

Essay Topic 3

The author speaks often of a body that is easily broken. The theme of impending violence is an undercurrent that runs throughout the memoir. Is the author referring solely to physical violence or to a deeper emotional state of being? Based off of the author's observations, which might be more damaging in the long run - the threat of physical violence or a constant undercurrent of emotional upheaval?

(see the answer keys)

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