I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After Twenty Years Away Test | Final 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. Which decade saw the idea of the drive-in really take off?

2. Bryson says there are three types of stores. The first is where you cannot get anyone to help you, and the second is full of clerks who will not leave you alone. What does he say about the third type?

3. Why does Bryson say he never ultimately drove the rental car he needed at the Boston airport?

4. Bryson compares modern airplanes to _______________.

5. Why does Bryson have to buy a whole new computer and fax system when he returns to the United States?

Short Essay Questions

1. "The Myteries of Christmas" compares American Christmases and English Christmases. How does Bryson compare the two holidays?

2. In "Lost in Cyberland," what kind of adventures does Bryson have with technology in America?

3. Bryson titled "The Waste Generation". Give three examples of why he thinks the generation of Americans in the 1990s is a wasteful one.

4. In "Enough Already," Bryson says there is just too much of everything in America (except time, money, good plumbers, and polite people). What examples does he give to back this up? Why does he think it is not a good thing?

5. In "In Praise of Diners," Bryson talks about an old American institution that has almost disappeared, the diner restaurant. List at least three things he tells the readers about diners.

6. "The Best American Holiday," Bryson explains why he loves Thanksgiving so much. List three things that he enthuses about the holiday.

7. "Highway Diversions" is Bryson's look at highway travel, which he says is very dull. How does he compare modern highway travel to the highway travel of his youth?

8. Find three examples from "The Great Indoors" that Bryson cites as reasons he thinks Americans spend too much time indoors.

9. In "So Sue Me," what does Bryson say about American lawyers?

10. In "The Wasteland," what is Bryson criticizing? Name three points of his criticism.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

What role does the Bryson family play in the memoir "I'm a Stranger Here Myself"? Are they as important to the narrative as the author and the environment? Give four examples where the other members of the family are central to the story-telling. Give four examples where the narrative is focused only on Bill and the community/the United States.

Essay Topic 3

"I'm a Stranger Here Myself" is a first person narrative, told from Bill Bryson's point-of-view. Briefly explain how the first person narrative is effective and how it is limited. Give four specific examples that show how the memoir is effectively told from Bill Bryson's point of view. How is our vicarious experience enhanced by Bryson's choice of first person?

(see the answer keys)

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