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. Why does Ish think the books in the library are important?

3. While driving through the Mojave desert, why does Ish stop his car in the middle?

4. While scavenging for food in his hometown, what item of food does Ish find to be inedible because of mice and weevils?

5. Why is Ish worried about the couple he stays with in the eastern city?

Short Essay Questions

1. What trick do the children play every year at New Years?

2. What does the author mean when he talks about certain crops and mankind being interdependent? Is he trying to make a larger statement?

3. How is it significant that Ish has not passed on the tradition of carving the year into the rock? What effect may this have later?

4. What law does Ish believe needs to be in effect the next time any new people arrive in their area? Why?

5. What was different about the bodies that Ish saw in the dry, Arizona town?

6. To what famous couple could the author be comparing Em and Ish?

7. Why does Ish decide that most of the items on his original list of survival characteristics are useless?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

From Chapter Three until the first "Quick Years," Ish has a faithful companion in his dog, Princess. What is significant about Princess' arrival and departure? What does she represent to Ish? Do you think Princess is symbolic?

Essay Topic 2

Throughout the book, Ish is determined just to be the observer, someone who watches what becomes of civilization. How do you think this attitude affects the way things develop and his life in general? Do you think that he stays true to this decision throughout the entire story? Why or why not? Please supply evidence from the book for you answer.

Essay Topic 3

How is it significant that Ish said that he would never be a god, but in the end, he becomes a god to his people? Do you think Ish could have prevented this? What was it about his own behavior that caused Ish's life to turn out differently than he planned?

(see the answer keys)

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