Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music Test | Final 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. Who said "if I couldn't perform I'd give up . . . It's not a question of the money side of it. . . not having that ninety minutes up there anymore. Phew. I don't like to think about it"?

2. Who wrote "There's a mickie in the tastin' of disaster" (90)?

3. According to Marcus, what does Elvis symbolize?

4. Why did people riot at Sly Stone concerts in the 70s?

5. Who wrote "We needed . . . to be violently stirred into life . . . intolerable social constraints grew daily upon us"?

Short Essay Questions

1. According to Marcus in "Sly Stone," how did Newton and Cleaver use the myth of Staggerlee?

2. According to Marcus in the section "Sly Versus Superfly," why does Riot matter?

3. What does Marcus mean when he wrote: "Instead of breaking the bartender's glass Stack found himself aiming at the mirror behind the bar, and thus discovered that the target was himself" (78)?

4. In the section "Sly vs. Superfly," what problems emerge from the black movies being made in the early seventies? How is real life different from the movies?

5. How does Marcus define pop culture optimism and pessimism in "Sly Stone"?

6. According to Marcus in "Randy Newman," what is important about the Beach Boys? (101)

7. According to Marcus in "Randy Newman" what is a shared culture? Why is the shared culture important?

8. In "Sly Stone," how are the first two albums produced by Sly and the Family Stone similar and different?

9. In "Elvis," Marcus discusses the Pink Cadillac as being the downfall of Elvis. What does the Pink Cadillac symbolize and how is it Elvis' downfall?

10. Why does Marcus compare the Fresh album by Sly to "Nietzsche's belief that he who gazes into the abyss will find the abyss looking back; that he who looks too long at monsters may well become one" (90)?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The archetypal theme, desire for freedom, is more than apparent in Harmonica Frank's style and life. Write an essay analyzing how this is an archetypal theme and how Harmonica Frank represents it in his music and life.

Essay Topic 2

Freedom is an American theme explored in rock 'n' roll. Choose one artist and using their lyrics identify their concept of freedom (or the lack of it). Does the artist's music reflect the American idea of freedom?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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