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. When Gray speaks of understanding Nat's mind, what does he say about it?
(a) Nat was trying to grapple with things beyond his mind's reach.
(b) Nat had a mental condition and couldn't understand what he was doing.
(c) Nat's mind snapped at the thought of being sold again.
(d) Nat had sociopathic tendencies and would have killed more people if he hadn't been caught.

2. Which part of his body causes Cobb pain?
(a) His foot.
(b) His leg.
(c) His heart.
(d) His arm.

3. While in jail, about how many blacks does Hark say were killed while Nat hid?
(a) Fifty.
(b) One hundred.
(c) Two hundred.
(d) One hundred fifty.

4. What does Gray refer to the insurgent slaves as?
(a) "Heartless heathens set upon vengeance."
(b) A "band of ferocious miscreants."
(c) A "ravaging band of murderers."
(d) The "ebony slaughterers."

5. What weapon does Nat's captor carry?
(a) A shotgun.
(b) A sword.
(c) A knife.
(d) A bow and arrow.

Short Answer Questions

1. While in church with Hark, Nat makes plans to gather with other blacks where?

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

3. What is an insurrection?

4. Turner says he submits Nat's "own account of the conspiracy" to the public ____________.

5. What reason does Gray give in his introduction for publishing Nat's confessions?

Short Essay Questions

1. Gray tries to calm the fears of the people in Southampton County with his statement that's included in the Introduction. Yet he says "if Nat's statements can be relied upon." Why would he include a statement like this when he's trying to calm people?

2. Nat tells Gray in the Introduction, "I don't think you understand about this business and I don't know but whether it's too late to make it all plain". If Gray took down what Nat said and is reading it back to him, why would Nat think Gray didn't understand?

3. Part 1 is told partly in the court as Nat's sentence is being handed down and partly through flashbacks to earlier times in Nat's life. Why might Styron have opened the book this way? What purpose does it serve?

4. 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?

5. Prejudice is "an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought or reason". ( Do you think Gray displays prejudice toward Nat? Toward blacks in general? How? List specific examples from the Introduction.

6. 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?

7. In the "Author's Note", Styron says he has "rarely departed from the known facts about Nat Turner and the revolt of which he was the leader." But the written text of the Confession is only around twenty pages. This book is over 400 pages long. Surely this can't be all fact; Styron himself says he allowed himself the "utmost freedom" in reconstructing the events. So which is true? Do you think this book will be mostly fact or fiction?

8. In Part 1, Gray reads back Nat's account of the killings, and Nat yells at him to stop. Why did Nat say that? Did he feel remorse? Nat says, "We done what had to be done!" Was he was talking about his "visions" and what they told him, or what Nat, personally, felt needed to be done?

9. In Part 1, when Nat is cleaning rabbits with Hark and Jeremiah Cobb stops to talk after getting a drink, Nat becomes nervous when he feels Cobb's question needs an answer. Nat doesn't want to give away a hint of what he's planning, but there's something else that pulls him in two directions when he considers whether to answer Cobb or not. Describe why Nat is so worried.

10. 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?

(see the answer keys)

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