The Confessions of Nat Turner Test | Final 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. What does Nat do for the first time the Saturday he and Hark are at market?

2. Who does Nat identify as a white man who was "unconditionally monstrous"?

3. What is camphene?

4. How did Little Morning determine which jar held molasses?

5. Why do Marse Sam and the traveling salesman go out to the veranda?

Short Essay Questions

1. The story of Hark's escape and eventual return takes up a large section of Part 3. Why might Styron have devoted so much time to this story? What was he trying to show? What do readers learn from Nat's telling of the story?

2. In Part 2, when Nat baptizes Willis, he feels he's on the brink of great things, that great possibilities in his life are opening up. Yet soon after, his life changes as the slaves and eventually the plantation, including him, are sold. Is it possible that this had an effect on Nat's eventual decision to kill the whites? Why?

3. When Nat preaches in town in Part 3, he does not use proper English. Why do you think he does that?

4. Much of Part 2 is taken up with items from Nat's past. Why was so much of the book spent on the early times in Nat's life, rather than on his planning for the rebellion?

5. In Part 3 when Nat goes on his five-day fast, he begs the Lord to give him a sign and believed the Lord answered his request. What does Nat describe as being the answer to his request of the Lord?

6. After Nat spells the word columbine, he lies awake that night thinking about it. He says it's a dream filled with 'inchoate promise'. What does he mean by that? How can one word be a promise?

7. In Part 1, Marse Samuel speaks to Dr. Ballard about the existence of slavery in the South. He says "it is evil to keep these people in bondage, yet they cannot be freed. They must be educated!" Samuel's brother Benjamin does not agree with him and argues the other point. Who makes the better argument?

8. In Part 2, Nat describes two events: "one causing me the bitterest anguish, the other premonitions of joy." What were these two events, and why might they have been told together?

9. Why might Part 3 be titled "Study War"? Is it appropriate?

10. In Part 2, Nat tells of Little Morning spying on him as a jealous response to the realization that Nat could read. This is the first time Nat tells of a negative reaction to his reading and learning. Why might Little Morning have reacted like this?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Nat says "I lived as if straddling two worlds of the mind and spirit" as he's planning the attack while trying to continue his daily life. How does Nat's education also leave him "straddling two worlds"? Can you find other examples of Nat having a foot in two opposing worlds? Can he reconcile these? If so, how?

Essay Topic 2

In Part 1, Samuel Turner discusses things with Nat on his ride to Jerusalem as if Nat were an equal. Yet he refers to Nat in that same discussion as a "darky," a derogatory term. Describe other instances in the book when a white person was being derogatory to a black, but was unaware of this. Are there instances when a white speaks to a black in a derogatory manner and is aware of it? How did whites use their conversations with blacks in various manners in the book, and what result were they expecting? Be sure to use at least one specific example from the book in your discussion.

Essay Topic 3

Nat is romantically drawn to Miss Margaret, yet his feelings for her also cause him panic. What are some of his conflicting feelings for Miss Margaret? How does he try to reconcile them? Cite specific examples from the text. Compare and contrast his feelings for Miss Margaret to his feelings for other white female characters in the book, like Mrs. Whitehead. How are they alike or different?

(see the answer keys)

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