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 is a smudge pot used for?

2. According to a preacher that Nat heard, he that increaseth knowledge increaseth ________.

3. Who almost discovers Nat reading right after he steals the book?

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

5. What book did Nat steal from the Turner library?

Short Essay Questions

1. Miss Nell calls Nat "you smart little tar baby" in Part 1. Please explain what is meant by that name, and how it compares to what a white child would be called for the same reason.

2. 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?

3. As the book progresses, the descriptions of white slave owners grow worse and worse, until we reach Nathaniel Francis, introduced in Part 3. Why did Styron make each owner he described, whether the owner of Nat or other slaves, an uglier, meaner character than the one before?

4. One of the slaves chained by the drover tells Nat that he's "just like him." Do you think this is true? Why or why not?

5. 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?

6. The scene with Major Ridley's fiancee is very strong. A northern white woman, newly arrived in town, can't find her way around and can't understand the Negroes speech. According to Nat, she left, never to return. Why might Styron have had her interact with Arnold, an elderly slave who had been freed, but with no education and worse elocution?

7. 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?

8. After Nat's fast in Part 3, he said there were two events that helped him interpret his vision of the fighting angels as a mandate to kill whites. What were those two events?

9. After Nat describes his ideas about his grandmother, he switches to describing what he knows about his father--mainly that he ran away, and, at least in Nat's mind, is free now. How does Nat's description of his grandmother differ from his description of his father?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The book opens and closes with Nat's vision of a white building on a cliff, bathed in sunlight. What do you think the white building represents? Why is it next to the sea? Nat referenced hearing about the ocean from other slaves, but never got the chance to view it himself. How does this vision of an unattainable building tie in with Nat's life and his rebellion?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

The weather is used as almost as its own character throughout the book, as it helps set the tone and mood of many scenes. Describe at least two scenes from the book where the weather plays a part, and analyze how you think the weather has an effect on the characters and/or story.

(see the answer keys)

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