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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. What ailment does John have, according to his doctor?
2. What two biblical characters does John's father compare the two of them to on their journey to Kansas?
3. Why does John's father say "I never did forgive myself" after the narrator's grandfather told him about shooting the Union soldier?
4. What does John do as he walks down the streets of his town at one or two a.m.?
5. What does John say is the strangest thing about "this life, about being in ministry"?
Short Essay Questions
1. What is the content of the conversation that Jack and Lila have as John feigns being asleep?
2. How does John explain the futility of defending beliefs?
3. What are some of John's impressions of Tobias and his son?
4. How does John view Jack Boughton prior to his coming?
5. Briefly recount the story John's grandfather and his friends used to tell about the citizens of a little abolitionist town.
6. What is the nature of the discussion John and Jack have about predestination?
7. What are Jack's reasons for coming home to Gilead?
8. What does John learn about his grandfather and his encounter with a Union soldier?
9. Describe the preaching John's grandfather did after coming back from the war, and how it affected his listeners.
10. What are the final thoughts about Gilead John shares?
Essay Topic 1
John's grandfather's personal belongings - specifically, the gun and the two shirts - can be considered potent symbols. Discuss what these items might be symbolic of, how other family members respond to them. Consider especially John's mother and father's response.
Essay Topic 2
John and Jack have an extended conversation on pages 160 - 173. Discuss the nature of this conversation, the different points raised in the course of the conversation, while highlighting the presence of thematically important conflicts. Note, too, any significance to the fact that the conversation took place in the church - which seems to make conversations difficult.
Essay Topic 3
In pages 202 - 215, we have John revealing parts of his character, especially in his relationship with his wife. Discuss those revelations as they deal with his wife. Look for any other summaries of the novel's themes as found in this section, and identify any points which point toward John going through a transition in his beliefs.
This section contains 1,750 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)