Native Son 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. Who answers the door when Bigger finally knocks on the door of the Dalton house?

2. What terrorizes the family in the opening of the novel?

3. What does Bigger tell his friend Gus he could do if he had the chance?

4. Who does Mary ask Bigger to pick up after they leave home his first night working for them?

5. Where does Bigger have a job interview?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Bigger's home.

2. What does Max say to State's Attorney Buckley when Buckley ridicules Max for wanting to handle Bigger's case?

3. Why doesn't Bigger want his mother and siblings to visit him in front of the Daltons and all the others who were in his cell at the time?

4. Why is Bigger determined to never feel anything like hope again?

5. What kind of power does Bigger have over Bessie that she continues to obey him, even though she knows it is wrong?

6. What is the Leopold and Loeb case that gives Bigger the idea to collect a ransom by pretending Mary was kidnapped?

7. What is Bigger's fatal mistake in his plan to dispose of Mary's body?

8. When Bigger awoke in the morning after Mary's death, what happens when he remembers what he had done the night before?

9. Why does Max want Bigger to plead guilty, but not enter a plea of insanity; yet, at the same time try to prove Bigger is not mentally capable of acting as any white person would describe as sane?

10. When does Bigger finally break his silence and fast?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about Bigger's sanity. Was he sane? Are their degrees of sanity as Boris Max was trying to prove? If you were on the jury in this case how would you feel?

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay on the way the author, Richard Wright, wrote this story, demonstrating both sides of the "nature versus nurture" theory. This is particularly strong when Max testifies to the court about Bigger's life. In the essay, describe various parts of the story and how they reinforce both aspects of the theory.

Essay Topic 3

There are places in the story where Bigger demonstrates a keen ability to visualize a situation ahead of time and can evaluate the possible outcomes. Is this an advantage or disadvantage to him in the story? Give examples in the essay.

(see the answer keys)

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