In the American Grain Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Williams admire about Poe's choice of words?

2. What makes Daniel Boone different from other settlers, according to the narrator?

3. What famous ship does Williams say that a slave ship is the counterpart to?

4. What does William Carlos Williams say is the most important thing to remember about people who are descended from Africans who were brought to the Americas in slavery?

5. Which of the following adjectives best describes the narrator's experience of Paris?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

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

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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