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. Why does Bethia feel responsible for her mother's death?

2. Who comes to the Merry mill for help?

3. Who is Caleb?

4. With whom is Bethia's father arguing?

5. Who is Iacoomis?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Bethia come to believe she needs to watch her father preach?

2. What does Caleb place in Solace's casket?

3. How does Caleb explain his early morning greeting to the sun god?

4. Who establishes the colony where Bethia lives and whom does Bethia feel has been wronged?

5. What does Bethia say about Caleb in this first section?

6. Where do Bethia's father and grandfather invite Bethia along and what is the purpose of their visit?

7. What frustrates Bethia about her life and choices available to her?

8. Why does Bethia work so hard on her chores?

9. What does Bethia say about the influence of Cambridge on Caleb?

10. How does Bethia describe her life in Cambridge?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze the theme of growth in Caleb's Crossing. Consider the following questions as you write: What characters are most concerned with growth? Why? What are some symbols of growth? Symbols of rigidity? What characters seem rigid?

2. Trace and analyze the theme of culture and religion in Caleb's Crossing. Which characters struggle with this issue? Why? Which characters seem to be able to meld their culture and their religion? What about how religion influences culture?

3. Trace and analyze the theme of death in Caleb's Crossing. What types of deaths besides physical are portrayed in Caleb's Crossing? How does death change the lives of the characters, especially Bethia?

4. Trace and analyze the theme of sin and redemption in Caleb's Crossing. Who believes sin is real? Who does not? How does sin in a character's beliefs coincide with guilt? What characters considers herself/himself sinful?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the following:

1. Who is/are the protagonists of the story and why?

2. Who is/are the antagonists of the story and why?

3. Which 3 secondary characters have the greatest impact on the plot?

4. Are any of the characters dispensable and which ones? Why or why not?

5. Do you think this is a character-driven plot or an action-driven plot? Explain.

Essay Topic 3

There are a number of interesting questions raised by Caleb's Crossing. Questions that Brooks most likely want readers to consider and think through carefully. Discuss the following:

1. What does the term "author agenda" mean?

2. Name one idea/concept you think may have been a part of the Brooks' agenda. Analyze that idea throughout the book and discuss Brooks' probable agenda concerning that idea.

2. Do you think writers who have an agenda for writing should point it out in a preface?

3. How often do you think fiction is written with a clear agenda in mind by the author?

4. Research the life of Brooks and see if/where his life may have influenced his writing.

(see the answer keys)

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