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 type of work did the author's father do?

2. To whom is the memoir addressed?

3. What acclaimed history book did Chancellor William write?

4. What is the "one-drop" rule?

5. What did the author's father collect?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What revelation does the author have about the European perception of Africans during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?

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

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

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

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

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

8. How does research and study affect the author as a young man?

9. Why didn't the author console his son when Samori grieved over the release of Michael Brown's killer?

10. What role did violence play in the author's childhood?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Amidst multiple examples of police brutality, the author mentions an effort on behalf of some police departments to improve relations with black Americans by diversifying their staff, utilizing body and patrol car cameras and offering sensitivity training. In the same paragraph, he points out that there remains a significant distance between the police and those they are appointed to protect. Does diversity, sensitivity training and the use of cameras allow the citizens of America to build trust or dissociate themselves from the police force? Is is possible to overcome this dissociation of racism between authority and citizenship. If so, how?

Essay Topic 3

The author speaks of the complexity of human society. Describe the contrast between the reality of his Baltimore neighborhood with that of the American suburbia he viewed on TV as a child. How might this contrast have affected his personal philosophy?

(see the answer keys)

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