Caleb's Crossing Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Geraldine Brooks
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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. Where had Bethia gone to do in the story she is telling?

2. What does Bethia believe about her mother's death?

3. Why is Bethia angry after what Noah says?

4. Why does Bethia say she is so tired in Chapter 11?

5. Why does Bethia not know what will happen to her?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Bethia say to Corlett about applying for a position at another school and what is his response?

2. What does Bethia do in order to help Caleb when he is dying?

3. How does Bethia describe her life in Cambridge?

4. When and how does Bethia's father introduce Caleb to the White settlement?

5. Why is Bethia relieved when they board a vesself for Cambridge, and how is her first day there?

6. What happens to Bethia's sister Solace?

7. Why does Caleb say he and Bethia can no longer be friends?

8. Where is Bethia sent and what are the aftereffects of her drinking out of the gourd?

9. Describe the argument Bethia and Makepeace become embroiled in one day at the memorial for their father.

10. What does Tequamuck do as Mayfield prepares to leave for England, and what do some believe is the result of Tequamuck's actions?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Many readers of fiction place themselves in the position of one character, wondering if they would do the same thing as that character. Discuss the following:

1. Do you think one of the values of literature is to serve as a reflection of oneself? Why or why not?

2. Socrates said "Know thyself." How can reading a book such as Caleb's Crossing help a reader to know him/herself? Do you find yourself reflecting on your own character and abilities when reading Caleb's Crossing? Why or why not.

3. Choose one specific incident in Caleb's Crossing to discuss and compare one of the characters' response to how you think you would respond.

Essay Topic 2

An important symbolic element is the treatment of the whale, which can clearly be seen as a metaphor for the (exploitation? spiritual gutting?) of natives by whites that takes place throughout the novel. It might not be going too far, in fact, to suggest that the treatment of the whale is a metaphorical foreshadowing of how Caleb, Joel, and perhaps even Bethia herself, are treated by the white, educated, Christian men whose attitudes and beliefs define their lives. Granted, there are white people (Pastor Mayfield, the soon to be introduced Merry family) who treat the natives they encounter with a degree of respect. But the book clearly portrays these people and their views/actions as in the minority, perhaps as an overall authorial commentary on how white imperialist and/or capitalist Christianity overwhelmed goodwill and humanism on a number of levels.

1. Discuss the whale in view of the above statement, using your own thoughts and words. Use examples from your life and Caleb's Crossing to support your answer.

2. Discuss the concept of prejudice in light of the above statement. Include in your discussion thoughts on prejudice in present America. Use examples from your life and Caleb's Crossing to support your answer.

3. Discuss what you think is made by the statement: The book clearly portrays these people and their views/actions as in the minority, perhaps as an overall authorial commentary on how white imperialist and/or capitalist Christianity overwhelmed goodwill and humanism on a number of levels. Use examples from your life and Caleb's Crossing to support your answer.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss one of the following:

1. Thoroughly analyze how the setting informs the plot in Caleb's Crossing.

2. Trace and analyze one major theme of Caleb's Crossing. How is the theme represented by symbolism? By the characters' behaviors? By the action?

3. Trace and analyze two secondary themes of Caleb's Crossing. How are the themes represented by symbolism? By the characters' behaviors? By the action?

(see the answer keys)

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