Letters of E. B. White 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. Who was White's favorite sibling?

2. What intrigued White about the girls in high school?

3. How long does White tell his friend, Charles Muller, that he can stay away from the farm?

4. How much bed rest does Katharine have while recovering from an illness after the birth of their son?

5. What state did White and his family travel to in August?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the purpose of White's trip with Howard Cushman, and where do they go?

2. What unscheduled vacation does White take from the New Yorker and how does he inform them of his absence?

3. What happens during White's early New York Times interview?

4. What complications does Katharine have while giving birth to their son in 1931?

5. Where were White's parents from and what is their background?

6. How does White begin writing for the New Yorker, and what does he do once his position becomes permanent?

7. How does White gain confidence as a writer while in college, and what acquaintances does he make there?

8. What description does White provide of his wedding?

9. How does White return to the New Yorker and what embarrassing situation does he encounter there?

10. Why did White first begin writing during his childhood?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In 1937, White displays his whimsical nature in a letter to Katharine.

1) Explain White's motivation for his letter, leaving the New Yorker, and why he thinks it is an ancient privilege to live in a whimsical way rather than a reasonable way.

2) Compare his decision in the letter with other impulsive decisions that he has made, such as unannounced vacations, trips, etc.

3) Analyze White's tone in his letter to Katharine, what he hopes to accomplish, and the aspects of his decision that he has considered as well as the ones that he has not considered.

Essay Topic 2

Throughout his career, White has declined various offers for jobs, associations, and interviews. Choose three examples of offers that White declines, and explain the situations for each of them along with the reasons why White might have turned those offers down.

Essay Topic 3

Describe White's involvement with "The Elements of Style", what inspires him to first write a remembrance for Professor Strunk, how his text is revised and expanded, the contributions that he makes to the new edition, and the reasons why the book has become so popular with students and writers. Use White's letter to a former secretary later in his life to also explain why he indicates that he does not understand "The Elements of Style".

(see the answer keys)

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