Cities of the Plain 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. How does John Grady end up on crutches near the beginning of the book?

2. Whose brother died in the war in the book?

3. What body part of Magdalena's does not work properly due to being beaten?

4. Who gives John Grady a hard time about being "really something" near the beginning of the book?

5. What does Troy tell Billy he will do about his injured car after he hits a bird in Chapter 1?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Billy react when John Grady tells him he wishes to marry Magdalena?

2. How is Billy able to speak with Eduardo for the first time in the book?

3. What happens when Troy and Billy pass a group of Mexicans broken down on the side of the road?

4. How does John Grady tell Mac he knew a man's horse was lame when he brought it to them?

5. How is the house at Bell Springs first described in the book?

6. How does John Grady come to secure a home for he and Magdalena?

7. How does Billy describe a fight between his brother Johnny and their father before his brother's death?

8. What does John Grady do with the blind man and his daughter at the Moderno in Chapter 2?

9. How does the windshield of the truck Billy and Troy are traveling in get busted in Chapter 1?

10. What is John Grady's first impression of a young Mexican girl he sees at the beginning of the book?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Analyze the author's use of tragedy throughout the book, namely regarding the characters Billy and John Grady. What lessons are these characters able to learn due to their experiences with tragedy and what can we learn about their nature based on the way they handle these tragedies?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the author's portrayal of disease in as an important theme in the book. What might the author be saying about the nature of Magdalena's character given the fact that her disease defined much of her actions and experiences in life? In this respect, what symbolic meaning might disease have in the book regarding Magdalena?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the concept of compassion that is presented in the book. What can we learn about the nature of characters like Billy based on his consistent acts of compassion towards his friends, family and even strangers?

(see the answer keys)

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