Lost in the City: Stories Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Edward P. Jones
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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 had told Caesar that dreams were a good sign for a conman?

2. What is the only reason Cassandra does not think it would be fair to shoot the fathers of Joyce's and Pearl's babies?

3. In "The Girl Who Raised Pigeons", how old is Miles?

4. In "The Girl Who Raised Pigeons," how many years pass before Betsy Ann wants to see the pigeons again?

5. Who accompanies Betsy Ann on her trips to retrieve her pigeons?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Robert's reaction to becoming a widower and single father in "The Girl Who Raised Pigeons."

2. Describe the environment in which Betsy Ann grows up.

3. How does Robert treat his daughter Betsy Ann?

4. Why does the protagonist's mother slap her across the mouth in "The First Day"?

5. Describe the errand Gladys' mother pays Cassandra to run.

6. What does Betsy Ann do to lose her father's trust? Why does he become so angry?

7. In "The First Day", why does the protagonist's mother have her heart set on taking her to a particular school?

8. How does Cassandra response to Roger's attempt to rape Melanie?

9. Describe the conditions in which Betsy Ann's cousin Ralph grows up.

10. What is the central difference between Caesar and Sherman?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Relationships between women are central to many of the stories in this collection. Select three stories from the collection and discuss the way in which women form community amongst themselves. How does Jones portray the bonds between women in these stories? Are they mutually supportive? Antagonistic? Do these relationships fill any particular needs for the women who form them?

Essay Topic 2

Analyze the way in which the stories of "Lost in the City" comment on the role of aspirations and the "American Dream" within the African-American community. Using 3-4 of the stories in the collection, discuss the means through which the characters attempt to improve their socioeconomic status. Are these means within or outside of the established system? Do these strategies effective uplift members of the community? Why or why not? What is Jones' message about attempts to reach economic or social prosperity?

Essay Topic 3

Throughout the collection, Jones presents a fairly nuanced portrayal of gender roles in the African-American community of Washington, D.C. Select at least 3 short stories from the collection and discuss the ways in which the characters in these stories respond to the roles imposed on them based on their gender. Do these characters conform or rebel? What do we learn about them based on their compliance or defiance? What might Jones' message regarding gender roles be?

(see the answer keys)

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