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 De Soto uncertain whether he wants to meet Francisco Maldonado?

2. What happens when the Greenlanders fight with the people they meet in the New World?

3. Who does Columbus write to while he is on his return voyage?

4. Why does the narrator say that Raleigh is now in Hell?

5. How does Williams suggest that Ponce de Leon feels when he hears about Cortez and the wealth of Montezuma?

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 is "De Soto and the New World" narrated?

3. What proof does Cotton Mather offer to show that witches can make themselves invisible?

4. Why does Williams find Champlain delightful?

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

6. How did Cortez feel about burning Tenochtitlan?

7. 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?

8. What happens to Columbus' sailors when the weather is bad and the ships go through violent storms?

9. How did Freydis trick her husband? What happened as a result?

10. Why was Eric the Red exiled from Iceland?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

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.

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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