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. What type of audience does Marcus believe Randy Newman attracts?

2. Who wrote "Papa Was a Rolling Stone?'

3. What archetype does Newman represent?

4. According to Marcus, what does Elvis symbolize?

5. According to the myth, who did Staggerlee shoot?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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)?

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

3. 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?

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

5. According to Marcus in "Sly Stone," how does the music produced by Sly and the Family Stone resemble freedom?

6. 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)?

7. Why was "Short People" so controversial? What did this mean for Newman?

8. According to Marcus in "Elvis," what are Elvis Presley's roots?

9. Why did Marcus entitle a section "Mystery Train" in "Elvis"? Why is this also the title of the book?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Write an essay analyzing the images used in one or two of Robert Johnson's songs. What emotions do they convey? What meaning can be derived from his choice of words?

Essay Topic 3

Elvis is a man but he is also a symbol. In an essay discuss at least three concepts that Elvis came to symbolize. How does he symbolize these concepts? What did he do to reinforce these conceptions?

(see the answer keys)

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