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 Gregory say about the way in which the reputation of In the American Grain grew?

2. What does Columbus want to do instead of traveling to the New World again?

3. Who does the narrator address "Sir Walter Raleigh" to?

4. What pet is Ponce de Leon especially attached to?

5. What kind of woman is Freydis?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does the cacique of Quigaltam react when De Soto tells him that De Soto is the "child of the sun" and must be obeyed and offered tribute?

2. How does Williams think the rest of the world reacts when the United States sends aid overseas?

3. What is the one moral failing that Williams mentions that George Washington has? How does this failing affect Washington?

4. What does Cotton Mather say went wrong before the witches appeared?

5. What was Raleigh's relationship with Queen Elizabeth?

6. In his letter to Benjamin Franklin, why does John Paul Jones keep bringing up the conduct of Captain Landais?

7. 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?

8. Why do the Puritan leaders think that Thomas Morton should not barter in guns or liquor?

9. Why does Williams describe the New World as a white flower that was to turn into a poisoned apple?

10. Why does George Washington not especially want to be President?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Consider In the American Grain as a whole. What do you think William Carlos Williams is trying to tell his readers about the American national character? Do you think Williams believes there is just one national character, or several? How was the national character shaped? What do most Americans believe about their own identities as Americans? Write a strong thesis and develop it by relating examples from the book and responding to them.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Consider Williams' statement, "History, history! We fools, what do we know or care? History begins for us with murder and enslavement, not with discovery. No, we are not Indians but we are men of their world. The blood means nothing; the spirit, the ghost of the land moves in the blood, moves the blood." What does Williams mean? Do you agree with him or disagree? Write an essay in which you react to his statements.

(see the answer keys)

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