Brothers and Keepers: A Memoir 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. What shade of black does John say he and his siblings are?

2. Who is Jamila?

3. What does John say his mother lost when Robby declined into crime?

4. What is it that unites almost all the prisoners?

5. What does John say Garth's status was, in the neighborhood?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does John say he and his family are treated at the penitentiary?

2. How does John say Robby changed his mother?

3. What does John say the prisoners notice?

4. Why was Robby expelled from high school in 1968?

5. How does John characterize the prisoners?

6. How does John characterize Robby's temperament?

7. How does John characterize the freedom gained by escaping from a situation or place?

8. Describe the geography of "Brothers and Keepers".

9. Describe Robby's entrance into drugs and crime.

10. Why does John say it might have been a mistake to bring Robby home with him?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Evaluate your own reading of "Brothers and Keepers"--did you resist it, or were you compelled by the story? What does your reading tell you about yourself and your interests? Use specific examples from the book to describe yourself as a reader.

Essay Topic 2

What is John's relationship with his blackness? When does he feel most black? When does he feel least black? What does his experience tell us about being black in America? How is his relationship with his blackness different from Robby's?

Essay Topic 3

How does John characterize his brother? What literary techniques does he use to bring his brother to life as a literary character? How does his characterization change throughout the course of the memoir, as he writes one draft and then another? What does John learn about himself and his brother in the process of trying to capture this story in writing?

(see the answer keys)

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