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. Why is Ponce de Leon free to go exploring in Florida?

2. Why does Williams criticize historian A. C. Adams at the beginning of "The May-Pole at Merry Mount"?

3. Why is De Soto uncertain whether he wants to meet Francisco Maldonado?

4. What happens when Thorgest tries to steal from Eric the Red?

5. What does Gregory mean when he says that "if anyone is looking for the secret of their good health and the freedom they exert within an individual speech and manner, it may be found in their determination to 'stay at home,' to accept the roots of their being and to grow slowly to their own maturity."

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Poe respond to his critics?

2. Why does the narrator hold Raleigh responsible for Raleigh's son's death?

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

4. Why does Benjamin Franklin say that manufacturing is not a viable activity in the American economy?

5. Why did De Soto's men try to keep the Indians from finding out about his death?

6. What are De Soto's relations with the Indians like?

7. What does Williams say is the reason Americans focus on science and inventions?

8. What is Ponce de Leon's dog doing when he is killed?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare Williams' essay on Abraham Lincoln with his essay on George Washington. How are these two famous presidents similar? How are they different? Is there a difference in the way that Williams approaches writing about each of them? Draw on evidence from In the American Grain to support your answer.

Essay Topic 2

In "Descent," Williams remarks, "There is nothing for a man but genius or despair." At the time, Williams was writing about Sam Houston. However, he makes the remark more generally. Consider the other historical figures who are included in this book. Can it be said of each of them that there was nothing for them but genius or despair? Pick three historical figures from In the American Grain. Write an essay reflecting on whether or not Williams' statement about genius and despair is true for each of the people you choose. Support your arguments with evidence from In the American Grain.

Essay Topic 3

Do you think Williams blames Cortez for the destruction of Tenochtitlan? Why or why not? Use evidence from the chapter to support your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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