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. How does De Soto keep his men alive when the maize crop fails?

2. What does the narrator admire about the Pilgrims?

3. Why does Columbus count fewer leagues than he knows he has traveled?

4. What does Montezuma tell Cortez?

5. What is De Soto looking for?

Short Essay Questions

1. How do Columbus' voyages east, returning to Spain, differ from his voyages west, heading to the New World?

2. What was Aaron Burr like, according to Williams?

3. 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?

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

5. How did enslaved Africans react to the Christian religion, according to Williams?

6. What does Williams think that Benjamin Franklin would say are the most important American virtues? Does Williams agree with Franklin? Why or why not?

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

8. How could Raleigh have avoided being beheaded?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

At the end of "Poor Richard," Williams states, "...almost nothing remains of the great American New World but a memory of the Indian." What do you think Williams means by this? Write an essay explaining the connection of the Indian to the American Grain. Support your answer with evidence from the book.

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay in which you analyze the structure that William uses to relate the story of Columbus and his voyages. Why does Williams alternate between his own point of view and that of Columbus? Why does he alternate between Columbus' experiences in the New World and his experiences in the Old? Explain.

(see the answer keys)

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