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. What was White's grandfather well known for?

2. What reminder does White make about the agreement with communism?

3. When do the Whites rent a cottage on the coast of Maine?

4. In a newsbreak report to Harold Ross, how long does it take White to locate the paste?

5. When does White begin living with three other Cornell graduates?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Katharine hesitate before agreeing to marry White?

2. What description does White provide of his wedding?

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

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

5. Why does White decline a job offer from the Saturday Review?

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

7. How does White show Katharine her importance in his life?

8. What is the topic of the humorous letter of outrage that White sends to Harold Ross in July, 1945?

9. How does White discover the New Yorker?

10. What causes White to write a seething letter to the New York Herald Tribune?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

White answers a number of letters and questions from students about writing and education in general.

1) Describe White's explanation of the process for writing a book to a fourth-grade class in Columbus, Ohio.

2) Explain White's advice to a depressed college student as well as his advice to a confused senior, and his comments about his own writing identity.

3) Compare and contrast the advice that he gives to his granddaughter, Martha, with the responses that he sends to other college students.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

An editorial in the New York Herald Tribune outrages White, whose response sparks a public debate.

1) Explain the editorial that is published in the New York Herald Tribune and the "loyalty oath" it discusses.

2) Describe why White objects to the editorial and his letter to the New York Herald Tribune.

3) Explain the New York Herald Tribune's response to White and why they consider his thinking to be dangerous during that time in American history.

4) Analyze the irony in White's criticism of a newspaper publishing an opinion that he disagrees with.

(see the answer keys)

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