I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Bill Bryson
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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. How do 40,000 Americans die a year, according to Bryson?

2. What particular product in American supermarkets fascinates Bill?

3. In "Lost at the Movies," which Jurassic Park movie did Bryson take his children to see?

4. What do U.S. post offices do once a year that Bill likes a lot?

5. What is one complaint Bryson has about the small towns around him?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Bryson feel about gardening? What are his feelings concerning gardening with his mate in "Gardening With My Wife"?

2. What does Bryson, who admits he "is no stranger to sloth," say about the walking habits of Americans in Essay 26, "Why No One Walks"?

3. Bryson relates how his attitude to the informality and familiarity in American life seemed an irritant when he returned to the United States. For Essay 19, "Number Please," relate some of the ways he has encountered this informality in America.

4. Bryson calls America "the ultimate shopping paradise" in "Consuming Pleasures." How does he support this statement?

5. In "Mail Call," what points does Bryson bring up to compare American post offices and British post offices? Why does he prefer American post offices?

6. In "The Numbers Game," Bryson expresses his amazement at the large numbers that are quoted by American government agencies. What does he say about the use of such large numbers?

7. In "The Risk Factor," how does Bryson explain that the average American is twice as likely to die accidentally as the average Briton?

8. In "Coming Home" Bryson says he is "gamely assessing" the concept of not being able to go home again. What circumstances took him away from the United States in the 1970s? How did he spend the following two decades in England? What is his reaction on returning to the United States in 1996?

9. How does Bryson support his statement that summer movies "have become so dumb, so very, very dumb" (Essay "Lost at the Movies")?

10. Why does Bryson find going to a restaurant in the United States so difficult, as expressed in "What's Cooking"? How does he address the issue of the many varieties of food out there?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

To make memoir writing authentic, the author's personal presence must exist. Give five examples where Bill Bryson's personal presence is apparent. Choose two of the examples, and explain why you think he chose to make it so.

Essay Topic 2

The setting refers to the time and the place where a story takes place. Compare and contrast the settings of "I'm a Stranger Here Myself." How does the United States to which he returns compare to the country he left behind in the 1970's? Cite at least three examples from the book where Bryson discusses how the setting, in reference to time, has changed.

Essay Topic 3

Define memoir as a literary genre. What elements of the memoir are found in "I'm a Stranger Here Myself"? Briefly outline the main points of Bill Bryson's experiences as they are described in the book. Discuss why you believe they are appropriate or not as inclusions in a memoir about a man returning to his country of birth after twenty years away.

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