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. After Ish and Em come together, something happens that makes Ish panic, but Em turns it into a game. What happens?

2. At the end of Chapter Two, Ish makes a list of the reasons he will survive better than many of the people he meets. Why does Ish believe he is better prepared to survive?

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

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Do Ish's own children think of Evie the same way that he does?

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

3. Why do Ish's feelings about the execution seem to be very different than the feelings of the others?

4. What is the author trying to illustrate when he shows how the young men treat Ish if he doesn't answer questions?

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

6. What do Ish and Em have to refill in order to continue on their journey? How do they do this?

7. After the over-population of a certain animal, Ish notices that the larger ones of the species start killing one another off. He decides that the animals are not doing this out of hunger. What does he believe is the real reason?

8. How would you react if you were in Ish's place when he finds out what happened?

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

10. Who gave Isherwood his name, and why?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

At the beginning of the story, Ish is referred to as a person who doesn't do well in social gatherings. Later in the book, Ish decides that he is, ironically, happier than he would have been if things had been normal, but still, he never seems satisfied that civilization hasn't returned to the way it was before. Why do you think Ish never seems to be satisfied? How do you think this affects him, and the fate of the people who look up to him?

Essay Topic 2

Throughout the book, there are particular characters that Ish becomes much more attached to than others. For instance, Em, Princess, and Joey seem to be the most important to Ish, though he has many more children, and at one point, another wife. Why were these characters more important to Ish than the others? What could each character possibly symbolize?

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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