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 happens to Columbus when he finally makes it back to Spain?

2. Who does the narrator address "Sir Walter Raleigh" to?

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

4. How does the narrator describe the descendants of the Puritans?

5. At the beginning of the Introduction, Horace Gregory quotes William Carlos Williams as saying "History, history! We fools, what do we know or care?" What does Gregory think Williams means by this?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Why does Ponce de Leon send women ashore when he first arrives in Guadaloupe?

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

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

6. Why does Gregory not fully appreciate the chapter on Cotton Mather?

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

8. 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?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

William Carlos Williams includes, as part of In the American Grain, several essays about historical figures who served in the military: George Washington, John Paul Jones, Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton. How does military life fit into the American Grain? Does military life only affect those who serve in the military, or is it also a part of being American for those who never do any military service? Write an essay responding to this question in which you cite the experiences of these four men as they are depicted in Williams' essays, and also draw upon your own experiences and values in contemporary America.

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

Consider the story of Pere Rasles. Why do you think William Carlos Williams admires Rasles so much? Write an essay explaining Williams' admiration for Rasles, supporting your thesis with evidence from In the American Grain. Do not rely only on evidence that you can find in the chapter, Pere Sebastian Rasles--include evidence from other chapters as well.

(see the answer keys)

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