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. At the beginning of the book, why doesn't Ish know about the virus?

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

3. During the Quick Years, the community tries to start a church. From what "church" does Maurine think Ish gets his ideas?

4. What natural disaster occurs in Year Twenty?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. How does the Tribe see Ish?

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

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

4. What do you think of how Ish paid for the food he received from the family in Arkansas? Was it a fair exchange?

5. Who does Ish think is his last companion?

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

7. In Chapter 4, the author says this of Milt and Ann that they would "pay the penalty which in the history of the world, he knew, had always been inflicted upon organisms which specialized too highly." What do you think the author means by this statement? How has the author shown the same principle already in the text?

8. How is it significant that many of the people do not sleep in the same location that Ish does?

9. How is Ish different at the end of the book than he was at the start?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

At the end of the book, Ish notices that, even though the rest of the city has burned, the university library is still intact. What is the significance of the library's survival?

Essay Topic 3

After the first few chapters of the book, Ish begins collecting companions. Each one interacts with, and affects, Ish in a number of different ways. What effect do the people in Ish's life have on him and his plans? What do the interactions between these people say about Ish, and how did their influences affect the outcome of the story?

(see the answer keys)

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