Earth Abides Test | Mid-Book 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. When pondering about mankind, Ish comes up with a definition for them. What definition does he use?

2. Out of all the people Ish finds at first, which of these is the most friendly?

3. What is the name of the city where Ish ends his trip to the east?

4. While cruising through town, what does Ish see on the flashing neon sign that he equates to the progress and downfall of civilization?

5. During the Quick Years, one of Ish and Em's earliest children dies. What do the adults think is the cause?

Short Essay Questions

1. How do the older people treat Charlie?

2. When visiting the library, what does Joey ask Ish about restoring? What does he see that causes him to ask the question?

3. Where did the Tribe bury Charlie?

4. Who is the "leader" of the group? Why?

5. Why are Bob and Dick so eager to use a brick to smash the door instead of the hammer?

6. What day of the year do Ish and Em choose to be their New Year's Day? Why?

7. Is it significant that the author shows all the dependent animals dying first? If so, how is it significant?

8. Why does Ish run away from the column of smoke?

9. Would Ish like any man that the boys brought back? Why or why not?

10. What purpose do funeral rites serve, according to the author?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

It is obvious, throughout the book, that Ish is a thinker and an observer. He comes up with many ideas about what needs to be done and conveys them to the other people around him, but he never seems to put his plans into action. Why do you think he acts this way? What point do you think the author may be trying to show through Ish's behavior?

Essay Topic 2

In Chapter Three, the author states that the fleas: "...in spite of racial differences, amicably maintained a tripartite balance of power, setting for their host an example which he might well have followed." What do you think the author is saying about racism and equality in this text? Why do you think he chose fleas as his illustration? How does the relationship between Ish and Em reflect on the author's view of racism?

Essay Topic 3

In the end, Ish's version of "civilization" didn't turn out the way he planned. Is it better that his personal vision wasn't realized, or do you think that it would have been better if he could have completely restored civilization? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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