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 Ish arrives in a certain city in the east, ending his trip to that side of the country, what impresses him the most about the city?

2. How does Ish find Em?

3. What does Ish notice is peculiar about one of the towns he visits on his drive home from Black Creek?

4. While exploring the city, Ish finds a body hanging from a telephone pole. What does the sign say that is attached to the body?

5. What is the name of Ish and Em's second child?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is Ish so concerned about finding people who can "fix" civilization?

2. Until he arrives at the desert, what are a few of the things Ish worries about the most?

3. Has Ish changed over the years? Why?

4. What is notable about how Ish acts on his trip home?

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

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

7. What tradition does Em begin when they carve the year into the rock?

8. Does Ish seem to treat Joey differently than everyone else? Why or why not?

9. Is the Tribe well organized? Why or why not?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

At one point, Ish realizes that the children have come to view him as a sort of deity, and that they attach a superstitious meaning to his hammer. Was Ish truly interested in preventing his deification? What effects will his teaching on these subjects, or lack of teaching, have on future generations and the development of civilization?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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