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 is the moral of the story about the lusty young man who fell overboard and was hauled back in?

2. When does De Soto plan to send word about his expedition to Maldonado?

3. What people do Karlsefni and Snorri find in the New World?

4. What does Columbus think of the New World when he reaches it?

5. When Champlain advocates on behalf of building a colony, what is the one personal favor he asks of the King of France?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What was Montezuma's life like in the capital?

4. What is Champlain's reaction to hearing that there will be an attempt on his life?

5. How does Williams say that Boone differs from other settlers?

6. What did William Carlos Williams think was most admirable about the Puritans?

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

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

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

10. Why did Williams compare the Puritans to dwarves in fairy tales? What does he mean by this?

Essay 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

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

Williams writes about three historical figures who admired Indians and who preferred living with Indians to living with white settlers. Who are those three figures? Write an essay in which you draw on details from each of their stories to explain why Williams so idolizes men who made this kind of choice.

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