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. Who does Ish meet when he is loading up his station wagon for his cross-country trip?

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 second Quick Years, what plant does the Tribe manage to grow?

4. What do the older members of the community notice that 
they think "pushes back the darkness" a little?

5. When Ish is older, he looks up one day while sitting on the hill and realizes that something is different. What is it?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why do the young men, though they have probably suffered, have less lines in their faces than someone in the old civilization would have had?

2. How does the Tribe see Ish?

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

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

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

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

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

8. Jack tells Ish about how they have found great quantities of a certain object, all of which have different pictures. Can you name one of the people in the pictures?

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

10. Why does Ish start walking with a limp?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

When visiting the city where he meets Milt and Ann, Ish reflects that Americans think it is the center of the world. He thinks about what happened to everyone there, and to the world at large, and he thinks of the phrase, "Falls Rome, falls the world." Why do you think Ish is making a comparison between Rome and the city? What does this comparison mean?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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