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. Why can Magdalena not finish the story of how she became a prostitute to John Grady?

2. Who did Billy's brother get into a fight with before going off to war?

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

4. What is the name of Elton's wife?

5. What does John Grady tell Billy he wants to do with Magdalena at a saloon in Chapter 2?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the nature of Mac's thoughts after attending the horse auction in Chapter 2?

2. How does Billy tease John Grady after he stays up all night trying to tame a wild horse?

3. How is the cowboy's dog hunt for mountain lions described in the book?

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

5. How does Magdalena tell John Grady she came to be a whore?

6. How is John Grady able to find the location of the young Mexican girl he first saw at the beginning of the book?

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

8. What does Troy say he is thinking about doing while on a long drive with Billy near the beginning of the book?

9. What does Eduardo tell Billy regarding Magdalena after saying she is a "whore to the bone"?

10. How is John Grady and Mac's game of chess described in Chapter 1?

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 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?

Essay Topic 3

The presence of violence plays an important role in the book and allows the author to display excellent visual portrayals. Part 1.) What might the author wish to show about the nature of his characters based on the numerous acts of violence portrayed throughout the book? Part 2.) How does the author make use of visual imagery in his writing more during violent scenes than in others, and what purpose might he have for using this method? Part 3.) What can we learn about the nature of Billy's character based on his tendency to stay away from violent acts although often having experience with them?

(see the answer keys)

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