Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music 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 author does Marcus quote in the beginning of "Robert Johnson -1938" to illustrate the promise of American life?

2. In "The Band," Marcus tells that Robbie Robertson believed the "music" came from where?

3. Which of the following performers will NOT be discussed in Mystery Train?

4. In "Harmonica Frank -1951," what song does Marcus say "set the stage for rock 'n' roll"?

5. What is the subject of Robert Johnson's song "Stones in My Passway"?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Harmonica Frank. What did he do? What did he look like? What made him unique?

2. What is the relationship between the rock 'n' roll artist and audience according to Greil Marcus in the prologue?

3. What imagery does Robert Johnson often use in his music? What do these images convey?

4. According to Marcus in "Harmonica Frank -1951," why would Lyndon Johnson and Harmonica Frank get along?

5. According to Marcus in "The Band," who is the storyteller in Big Pink and what is his story?

6. Who is Marcus' audience for Mystery Train and how do you know?

7. Describe the example of an artist that Greil Marcus uses in the prologue. Who is an artist and why? Why are the other people in the example not artists?

8. According to the prologue, what is Greil Marcus' purpose in writing Mystery Train?

9. In "The Band," why do the other members of the Band become known as Robbie Robertson's foil?

10. According to Marcus in the introduction to "The Band," what message did The Band send to its audience?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Randy Newman's music dripped with satire that many people did not understand. In an essay, analyze two of the songs discussed in Mystery Train. How are they examples of satire? What is satirized? What message is Newman trying to get across?

Essay Topic 2

Greil Marcus uses Huck Finn and Captain Ahab as literary allusions throughout Mystery Train. In an essay identify which artists most closely resemble Huck and/or which resemble Captain Ahab. Give details to support your assertions.

Essay Topic 3

In an essay explore the reasons that Greil Marcus would discuss, in the same section, the dark and funny music of Randy Newman, the light music of the Beach Boys, and the stark imagery of Raymond Chandler. What do they have in common? What makes them different? How does Randy Newman fit into the world of the Beach Boys and of Raymond Chandler?

(see the answer keys)

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