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. According to Bill, what is the outstanding quality of Americans?

2. Why does Bryson have an issue with the Internet?

3. In "Dying Accents," what is the name of the man who does carpentry around the Bryson house?

4. Bryson says that 94% of Americans' trips from home involve the use of something in particular. What is that item?

5. What does Bill find in the bottom of his refrigerator, a left over from his junk-food shopping with his wife?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Bryson compare late television in the U.S. to late time television in Britain in his "Drug Culture"? What does he say about the American approach to over-the-counter medicine from watching commercials for these products?

2. 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?

3. What does Bryson say about regional accents in America in the 1990s in "Dying Accents"?

4. 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"?

5. 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.

6. In "The War on Drugs," what examples does Bryson give to prove his belief about American drug laws being unfair?

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

8. In "On the Hotline," how does dental floss become the topic of this essay? What is the outcome of Bryson's reading the fine print on his floss packaging?

9. Bryson has a nostalgic look at motels in "Room Service." How does he compare and contrast older motels with those of the mid 1990's?

10. "Friendly People" begins with Mrs. Bryson telling Bill that all he did in his columns was make negative comments about the United States. He goes on to say there are a lot of things he likes about America. What are some of those things?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

At the beginning of the memoir, in the Introduction and Anecdote 1 "Coming Home," Bill Bryson explains how he came to write the anecdotes that comprise "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" and the process by which he relocated his family in the United States. Define the component of the literary element of plot known as "exposition." What purpose does it serve in writing? Give four examples of Bryson's use of exposition in the Introduction and in Anecdote 1 that enhance the memoir.

Essay Topic 2

Conflict is a common element of writing, in both fiction and nonfiction. Why is conflict so often used in narratives? How can it help add interest to a narrative? Give four examples where conflict in "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" occurs and how it helps explain the dynamics of Bill's return and his reactions to the United States.

Essay Topic 3

Define what is meant by "style" in writing. Discuss what kind of style is used in traditional nonfiction, novels, and creative nonfiction. Which style was used in the writing of "I'm a Stranger Here Myself?" Support your answer with four examples.

(see the answer keys)

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