A Gathering of Old Men 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. Where does Chimley keep his number five shells?

2. When Janey tells Miss Merle about the murder, Miss Merle leaves quickly to go to the quarters. Why is Miss Merle in such a hurry to get to the quarters?

3. Why does Snookum not get along with Reverend Jameson?

4. The group of old black men arrive at Mathu's house. Each old black man takes a position in the yard, surrounding Mathu's house. At this point, what does each man do or say?

5. When Miss Merle arrives at Mathu's house, what is the first thing that happens?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does each old black man claim responsibility for the murder of Beau?

2. What does it mean when the old black men see dust on the road? What is this a symbol of?

3. After Gil meets with his coach, why does Gil look at Cal like he hates him?

4. What is the significance of the argument between Mat and his wife?

5. What is the significance of Janey scolding Snookum to call Candy "Miss Candy" and Lou "Mr. Lou"?

6. What is the ultimate goal of Reverend Jameson? Why is he at the scene?

7. How can readers tell that Gram Mon is poor?

8. Why does Mathu look down on some of the men who come to help him?

9. When the shoot-out begins, how do the old black men get organized and decide what to do?

10. In Tee Jack's store/bar, what is the "nigger room" and what is it a symbol of?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the treatment of African Americans in the armed services, as discussed by Coot. What war does Coot fight in? Compare the treatment by whites when Coot returns compared with the treatment of black soldiers by the U.S. government, as related by Coot in his story. Discuss the burial practices of black soldiers and share your opinion about Coot's description of the policies of the U.S. government.

Essay Topic 2

Explain the relationships between the black and white people in this town. Why don't they change after slavery and after civil rights? Why is this town so far behind the times? Explain what is happening in this story between the people who are light-skinned blacks and the people who are dark-skinned blacks. What about the whites and the Cajuns? How do they all view each other? Who is "looking down" on whom?

Essay Topic 3

Using the characters of Fix, Candy and Gil, put into perspective the concept of the past, present and future. Allow Fix to represent the past. Discuss his treatment of black people, as described in the story. Candy is the present. She is white, but is practically raised by Mathu, a black man, and Miss Merle, a white woman. How does this shape her story? What is her unique perspective of her world? Gil represents the future. His life looks very different from his father's. Why? What changes and shapes Gil's ideas about race? How do all of these characters change after the events in this story? What does the future look like to each character? How much do they each change?

(see the answer keys)

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