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. What does Samuel bring to his first meeting with Bethia?

2. About what is Caleb troubled?

3. What do the Wampanoag construct on the shore?

4. What does Samuel ask Bethia when they are alone?

5. What does Samuel want Bethia to discontinue doing?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is Samuel's marriage proposal to Bethia interrupted, and what how does Bethia handle the situation.

2. Describe a little about Anne's life.

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

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

5. What is surprising about Mayfield's will?

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

7. Why are arrangements made for Joel to return to Cambridge before the others from the island?

8. How has Makepeace arranged to buy Bethia out of her indenture?

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

10. Why is Caleb still disturbed about the situation with Anne and what does he do?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Oftentimes, a book has more of a character-driven plot rather than action driven, and oftentimes the other way. Some books seem to balance the two. Discuss the following:

1. What do you think it means to say that a plot is character driven? Action driven?

2. How do you think a plot differs if it is character driven versus action driven?

3. Which type of plot do you find more interesting? Why?

4. Do you think it is possible to have a plot where action and character development share equal time? Why or why not.

5. What type of plot do you think Caleb's Crossing is? Explain your response.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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