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

2. What were Marse Samuel's "grander plans" for Nat?

3. Who ends up killing the first victim in the insurrection?

4. Who does Nat befriend in the carpentry shop?

5. What year did Nat's grandmother die?

Short Essay Questions

1. Early in Part 2, the traveling salesman asks Nat to spell a word. This is the second time in the book that a spelling request has frightened Nat. What are some of the reasons Nat gives for his terror?

2. 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?

3. 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?

4. After Nathaniel Francis forces Will and Sam to fight, Nat feels called to preach for the first time. Why do you think that was the event that brought Nat out in public as a preacher? Quote at least one reason from the book.

5. Nat equates Isham to John the Baptist. Nat speaks of a warning after the incident with Isham. Is this related?

6. 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?

7. In Part 3, when Nat is owned by Thomas Moore, he says that he fell into the kind of save work that he had believed before could "not ever become my lot, not in a thousand lifetimes." Yet now it had become his lot. How did Nat react to that? How does this turning point relate to his earlier childhood and education, as well as his eventual killing spree?

8. 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?

9. When Nat talks with Mrs. Whitehead in Part 3 after tracing the map, she alternately praises him and treats him as property, stating that she'd offered one thousand dollars for him. How did that make Nat feel?

10. In Part 2, Nat talks about Samuel Turner's tampering with a slave's destiny by educating him. Immediately afterward, he talks about what his life might have been like if he had not been the subject of Marse Samuel's "experiment." What do you think of this description of his might-have-been life? Is it something that appeals to him?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Part 1, Miss Nell gives Nat a Bible and says, "Heed this good book, Nathaniel, and happiness shall attend you wherever you go." Nat was, of course, able to read the Bible and eventually became a self-professed minister of the Word. Do you think the Bible brought him happiness? What part did the Bible and religion play in Nat's life from that point on? Did Nat's religious upbringing play a part in his decision to murder?

Essay Topic 2

There are many ways to ask questions. There are simple yes/no questions, open-ended questions, questions that ask someone to elaborate on a point, and leading questions, where someone asks a question so that the expected answer is clear. We don't have a record of the questions Mr. Gray asked of Nat. Based on your reading of the novel:

1. What might be some of the questions that Mr. Gray asked of Nat?

2. Was Mr. Gray trying to get a history of events, or was he more concerned with why Nat rebelled?

Essay Topic 3

In Part 2, when Nat observes the interaction of Arnold and Major Ridley's fiancee, we see the first mention of sexual yearning on Nat's part for a woman--and in this case, a white woman. Yet it's not a yearning of love. In fact, Nat's imagery at this point is very violent. Why do you think Styron wrote the scene this way? Describe another way he could have written the scene. How would it have been different if it had been written the way you described? What different points, if any, would have been made with the other method?

(see the answer keys)

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