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. After winning the battle with "the beast" what does Bigger do?

2. What two words best describe Bigger in this opening part of the novel?

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

4. What does Mrs. Thomas want Bigger to do to help the family?

5. When Mrs. Dalton speaks to Bigger in the kitchen, what surprises him about her?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does it mean about Bigger "Feeling his blackness," even more after Mary Dalton and Jan Erlone's attempts at being friendly?

2. What were Bigger's two final concerns about the burning body?

3. After Bigger realized Mary was dead, why didn't he even consider just telling the truth?

4. What was the story Bigger planned to tell when he returned in the morning?

5. Why does Bigger get so angry and violent with Gus when he says he'll go along with the robbery?

6. After all the gory details of the way he disposed of Mary's body, how was Bigger reacting?

7. Why did Bigger want to kill the cat?

8. How does Bigger feel about his family?

9. Why does Bigger seem to take an instant dislike to Mary Dalton?

10. What is the symbolism of the two movies Bigger and his friends saw?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Fear, Flight and Fate Themes:

Write an essay about the way each of these themes were demonstrated in the story. Did any of them intertwine? If so, when/how?

Essay Topic 2

At the very end of the story Max is upset when Bigger comes to the conclusion that it must have been good that he killed. In an essay explain Bigger's reasoning and how he came to that conclusion. Also explain what Max is trying to make Bigger understand after he comes to this conclusion. Why might the two men have different views on this subject?

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay on the way the author, Richard Wright wrote this story, demonstrates 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.

(see the answer keys)

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