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 is American culture built on according to Marcus?

2. According to the Prologue, why are Harmonica Frank and Robert Johnson included in Mystery Train?

3. Whom does Marcus claim puts the pieces together to find meaning in the music?

4. What is added in the middle of the chapter "Harmonica Frank -1951," set off with a note from the author?

5. What betrayal does the song "Tears of Rage" convey?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What type of music was Sam Phillips attempting to find and why?

3. 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?

4. Describe Robert Johnson's musical career. How did his contemporaries feel about his abilities? Is his music still relevant?

5. Why might "The Band" be subtitled "Pilgrim's Progress"?

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

7. In the prologue, what four artists does Marcus say he will write about and why these performers?

8. In "Robert Johnson -1938," what common theme does Robert Johnson's music have with music by Eric Clapton?

9. Just before "The Righteous Land," Marcus quotes from "We Can Talk About It Now." The storyteller in the song tells "there's no need to slave. The whip . . . is in the grave" (53). What type of imagery does this line have and what does it mean?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Throughout "Sly Stone: The Myth of Staggerlee," Marcus identifies the similarities and differences between the myth and the man. Compare and Contrast Sly Stone and the myth of Staggerlee. Then conclude whether Sly Stone was truly a Staggerlee archetype. Support your conclusions with details from Mystery Train.

Essay Topic 2

Rock 'n' roll always has its ties to race and it both enriches the music and hinders it. Pick one artist who dealt with race issues in his music (any of the artists discussed in Mystery Train do). In an essay identify what the racial tensions of the time were and how they factored into the music.

Essay Topic 3

Both Harmonica Frank and Robert Johnson have some claim as the originator of rock 'n' roll. In an essay, compare and contrast the two men including their styles, their audiences, and their legacies. At the end of your essay, identify if Harmonica Frank, Robert Johnson, or both are the true originator of rock 'n' roll. Use details from Mystery Train to support your conclusions.

(see the answer keys)

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