Caleb's Crossing Test | Final 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 does Samuel take Bethia the next day?

2. What happens to Joel on his way back to Cambridge?

3. How does Bethia describe the proprietor of the school?

4. With whom does Caleb take his entrance exams?

5. Whom does Bethia have to listen to when they get to the college?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is surprising about Mayfield's will?

2. What happens to Joel on his way to the mainland?

3. What does Samuel confess to Bethia?

4. What is the time frame when Chapter 1 of this section opens and why is Bethia writing again?

5. Why does Bethia tell Caleb to stop calling her Storm Eyes?

6. Why has Noah Merry come to Cambridge and what news does he bring?

7. What is Smauel Corlett like?

8. How does Bethia help Caleb die with peace and dignity?

9. Why do Caleb, Joel and Bethia believe they need to get Ann to the island?

10. What does Bethia say about her marriage to Samuel and their trip to Italy?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Often, authors will write about "what they know," and sometimes knowing a little about the author makes the books more interesting. Discuss the following:

1. Research and give a brief biographical sketch of Geraldine Brooks.

2. What in Brooks's background may have helped her in writing Caleb's Crossing? What may have influenced the way she depicts various characters and scenes?

3. Do you think there is always some of the author's own life in his/her novels? Why or why not? Give examples.

4. Have you ever read a book that when you finished, you do not understand the relevance of the title? Does it discourage you from "trusting" that particular author again?

Essay Topic 3

Caleb's Crossing belongs to the historical novel genre. Discuss the following:

1. Define the literary term "genre" and give several examples of three other genres in addition to the historical novel genre.

2. Discuss two reasons why it might be useful to label a text by genre and two reasons it might be disadvantageous to label a text by genre.

3. What do you think is the difference between a historical novel and a fantasy?

(see the answer keys)

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