Nightjohn 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. How would you describe the treatment of the slaves on Waller's plantation?

2. What did Sarny do with the coin that she found after showing it to Mammy?

3. What euphemism does Sarny use to describe menstruation in Chapter 1?

4. What kind of flowers is Sarny working on in the flower bed in the beginning of Chapter 2?

5. How old was Sarny when her birth mother was sold?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Sarny overhear from the white house while she works in Chapter 2?

2. What imagery and/or symbolism is used in describing the slaves on the plantation in Chapter 2?

3. How is John's appearance described when he first arrives at the plantation in Chapter 3?

4. What is the trade that John offers to make with Sarny in Chapter 3? How does Sarny feel about the offer?

5. What job or jobs does Sarny do around the plantation in Chapter 1?

6. What intrigues and inspires Sarny to want to learn to read and write? What risks does she take in doing so?

7. How does Sarny describe the process of meals for the slaves at the plantation in Chapter 3?

8. When is the first time that Sarny describes hearing the word "free" in Chapter 2? What were her perceptions of this word?

9. How does the author describe the regulations and rules regarding slaves and religion in Chapter 2?

10. What does Sarny describe thinking about as the others sleep in the slave quarters at night in Chapter 1?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the author’s dedication in the beginning of the novel and the lives of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson. What was Jefferson’s stance regarding slavery in the U.S.? Why did Gary Paulsen dedicate Nightjohn to the memory of Sally Hemings? Why is Sally Hemings significant in American history?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the language style of Nightjohn. How would you describe the dialect of Sarny’s narrative? How does John’s dialect differ from Sarny’s? How is it similar? How does the language style of the novel help the reader to connect with its themes?

Essay Topic 3

Analyze and discuss the character of John in the novel. What does John look like? How does Sarny describe John’s voice? What personality traits stand out in John upon his arrival at the plantation? How does John’s character evolve in the course of the story?

(see the answer keys)

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