In the American Grain 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. What does Cortez think when he enters the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan?

2. What is Williams trying to tell the reader about Columbus when he quotes details about how harrowing the storms at sea during Columbus' voyages were?

3. In his conclusion, what word does Gregory use to characterize Williams' prose?

4. Where do De Soto and his men retreat to after the Indians burn their camp?

5. What does Williams think was the motive of the person who told Ponce de Leon there was a fountain of youth?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Poe respond to his critics?

2. How did enslaved Africans react to the Christian religion, according to Williams?

3. What do you think will happen to the "credulous and literal-minded" if they walk into the "ancient trap" that Gregory considers history to be?

4. What does the narrator of "Sir Walter Raleigh" imply when he exhorts the Muse to sing of "the pursuit of beauty and the husk that remains," or when he says that Raleigh's England became "a mouthful of smoke sucked from the embers of a burnt weed"?

5. What does the narrator say that the Puritans would see if they looked inside their hearts?

6. What does William Carlos Williams think of Eric the Red? What kind of person does he think Eric is?

7. How did Pire Rasles treat the Abnaki?

8. How could Raleigh have avoided being beheaded?

9. What was shocking to the Puritans about slave society?

10. Why does Ponce de Leon forget his dog when he is driven away from Guadaloupe?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In "Jacataqua," Williams argues that some kinds of violence are not crimes of passion, but rather are crimes of starvation -- spiritual starvation. Write an essay explaining Williams' views on spiritual poverty and wealth, and spiritual fullness and starvation. Use quotations from In the American Grain to support your answer.

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay in which you compare "The Voyage of the Mayflower" with "Cotton Mather's Wonders of the Invisible World." In "The Voyage of the Mayflower," Williams implies that Puritan values gave rise to the Salem witch trials. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not? Support your answer with examples from In the American Grain.

Essay Topic 3

Are the American Grain and the character of the New World identical, or are they different? Write an essay in which you explain how William Carlos Williams might answer this question. Support your answer with evidence from In the American Grain.

(see the answer keys)

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