The Confessions of Nat Turner Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Who does Trezevant compare Nat to?
(a) Attila the Hun.
(b) The Pope.
(c) Ivan the Terrible.
(d) President Andrew Jackson.

2. What does Nat remember during Gray's speech to the court?
(a) The twenty-third Psalm.
(b) A song Miss Margaret wrote.
(c) Hearing God order him to kill.
(d) A stern lecture from his master.

3. Who is Jeremiah Cobb?
(a) A saloon keeper.
(b) The judge at Nat's trial.
(c) A neighbor of Joseph Travis, Nat's master.
(d) A white man who survived by hiding from the slaves.

4. How does Gray say Nat will be punished?
(a) Being tarred and feathered.
(b) The guillotine.
(c) A firing squad.
(d) The gallows.

5. What reason does Gray give in his introduction for publishing Nat's confessions?
(a) To pay off his debts.
(b) To write an abolitionist tract.
(c) For the gratification of public curiosity.
(d) To create a record for posterity.

Short Answer Questions

1. What weapon does Nat's captor carry?

2. Who is the last slave captured who participated in the rebellion?

3. When did Nat first begin to plan his rebellion?

4. What does Gray attribute the failure of the rebellion to?

5. Nat describes black slaves as being docile, yet filled with ______.

Short Essay Questions

1. Gray says that all the other insurgents who were examined tried to exculpate themselves. What does that mean? And why Nat didn't do it?

2. In the Introduction, Gray talks about an "annexed certificate of the County Court of Southampton" to prove the authenticity of Nat's "confession." Yet no one from the court, besides Gray, heard Nat's statements. Why might Gray have included the certificate?

3. In Part 1, Nat gets very angry at Hark and chastises him for being so subservient to the whites. But Hark is a slave. Hark is doing what the whites expect, and being well treated because of it. Was Nat justified in what he did? Why or why not?

4. Read Nat's description of Gray when they first meet in Part 1. Read Nat's thoughts about Gray immediately after the description. What does Nat think and/or feel about Gray? Does that have an effect on Nat's decision to confess? What does he think whites expect of him?

5. While in jail, Nat describes Kitchen and thinks of him in one way, yet speaks to him in a completely different manner. Describe the differences and what this tells readers about Nat.

6. In the introduction, Gray refers to the insurrection as a "conspiracy." Do you agree with that term? Why or why not?

7. Describe the world that Nat lived in from a slave's perspective. Now describe it from a white person's perspective.

8. Styron published this book in 1967, 136 years after Nat Turner's rebellion and during a time of unrest in the United States over equal rights and race relations. In the Author's Note he says "the year 1831 was, simultaneously, a long time ago and only yesterday." What might he mean by that?

9. When Judge Cobb first appears in the book, Nat describes his face as "blighted, ravaged by sorrow." When considering his eventual killing spree, Nat decides to spare Cobb. Why might he have done that?

10. The Introduction opens in the jail, so the reader already know Nat has been caught. Why might the author have used this technique? Why not choose some other method of telling the story?

(see the answer keys)

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