Life in the Iron Mills, and Other Stories 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. The narrator describes the mill workers in the beginning of “Life in the Iron Mills” as “laired in by day in dens of drunkenness and” what?

2. What Biblical figure, the son of Isaac, does the narrator denote having been deprived of his birthright in “Life in the Iron Mills”?

3. What is the name of the publisher’s wife whom Rebecca Harding Davis became close friends with?

4. Christ is described in “Life in the Iron Mills” as having stood “with the fishermen and harlots by the sea of” what?

5. What does Hugh use to commit suicide in jail in “Life in the Iron Mills”?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Hugh look down on from his prison window at in “Life in the Iron Mills”? What does this scene make him realize?

2. How are the themes of poverty and class entrapment illustrated through the character of Hugh in “Life in the Iron Mills”?

3. How did Rebecca Harding meet L. Clarke Davis? Where did they first meet, according to the author of “A Biographical Interpretation”?

4. What exchange takes place between Deborah and the Quaker woman at the jail in “Life in the Iron Mills”?

5. What is the basic story related in the plot of “Life in the Iron Mills”? How would you “sum up” the story in one or two sentences?

6. How would you describe the ending of “Life in the Iron Mills”? Does the story end on a happy or sad note?

7. What are the impressions of the visitors when they see the sculpture in “Life in the Iron Mills”?

8. What does the korl woman in “Life in the Iron Mills” represent symbolically?

9. How is the plot of “Life in the Iron Mills” structured? Are there subplots in the story?

10. What realization does Hugh have after his interaction with the visitors at the mill in “Life in the Iron Mills”? What does he do next?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Examine and discuss the correlations between Rebecca Harding Davis’s early childhood and the settings and themes in “Life in the Iron Mills.” Where do you think Rebecca derived the characters from the story? How is the setting similar to Rebecca’s childhood home?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the character of Hester Manning in “The Wife’s Story.” About how old do you imagine Hester to be? How does Hester describe her childhood and her relationship to her family? How does Hester feel about her husband and stepchildren?

Essay Topic 3

Describe and discuss the character of Haley in “Life in the Iron Mills.” How does Haley feel about Hugh and Deb? Why does Haley say Hugh is wearing leg shackles? How does Haley describe Hugh’s escape attempts?

(see the answer keys)

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