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 kind of woman is Freydis?

2. What does Cortez think when he enters the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan?

3. Which of the following quotations reveals Williams' opinion of Cortez?

4. Who does Cotton Mather say that New England belonged to before the New Englanders lived there?

5. What does Eric the Red say that his life is like now that he has been exiled?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Williams explain the fact that Aaron Burr was never made ambassador to France, even though he was recommended three times for the appointment, and that he was never made Brigadier General, even though he was ready for the post?

3. What makes Houston a good example of someone who "came up from under"?

4. Why does Houston leave the Cherokees after they have raised him? Why does he return to them?

5. What role does Williams say that Edgar Allen Poe plays in American literature?

6. Gregory says that In the American Grain is not a historical textbook or book of essays. What is it?

7. How does Eric the Red feel about living in Greenland?

8. Does Williams blame Cortez for what happened to Tenochtitlan?

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

10. Why is Columbus puzzled by the way the King and Queen treat him?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How does Williams regard America's Founding Fathers? Find the chapters in which Williams writes about some of the Founding Fathers and determine what characteristics of these men Williams admired, and what characteristics he regarded as pernicious. Then, write an essay describing Williams' attitude toward the Founding Fathers, drawing on the evidence that you collected to support your work.

Essay Topic 2

What does Williams mean when he says that fear drove Benjamin Franklin's curiosity, that he built a nation based on the desire to huddle and protect? Write an essay explaining why you think Williams might feel this way. Support your answer with evidence from the book.

Essay Topic 3

Aaron Burr appears in two of Williams' essays, "Jacataqua," and "The Virtue of History." Consider Aaron Burr's character in light of all that Williams says in "Jacataqua" about the American tendency to avoid touch, to be spiritually impoverished, and to keep women locked up by creating a culture in which women fear the loss of their virginity. Write an essay in which you judge Burr by the standards set forth in "Jacataqua." Support your thesis with evidence from both essays.

(see the answer keys)

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