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. What refers to the laws in each U.S. state which defined the status of slaves and the rights of masters?

2. In Chapter 1, Sarny says that some believed she brought Nightjohn to the plantation by what manner?

3. What is Mr. Waller's first name?

4. When did Pennsylvania pass legislation to end slavery?

5. To whom does Mammy pray when Sarny witnesses her in Chapter 2?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Sarny describe Mammy's method of praying in Chapter 2? Why does Mammy pray this way?

2. How is Sarny's relationship with Mammy illustrated in Chapter 1? How does Mammy feel about the other children she cares for?

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

4. What is foreshadowed by Sarny's description of the penny that she once found in Chapter 2?

5. What is the significance of John's scars when he first appears? Why do you think Waller chose John despite those scars?

6. How does Mr. Waller behave toward John as he brings him into the plantation in Chapter 3?

7. How does John behave toward the other slaves after his arrival in Chapter 3?

8. Why were slaves forbidden education historically? How is this depicted in the novel?

9. How would you describe the tone and mood of the novel as established in Chapter 1?

10. How is Sarny's birth and early childhood described in Chapter 1? Are Sarny's experiences common for slaves at this time?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the meaning and the value of money as seen through Sarny’s eyes in Nightjohn. What does Sarny remark about the monetary value that her mother brought for Waller? How does this perception of people as having a monetary value impact Sarny’s view of the world around her? What negative impacts might this outlook cause in a person’s self worth?

Essay Topic 2

Examine and discuss the themes of cruelty and abuse in Nightjohn. In what ways do Waller’s actions in the narrative appear cruel? Do you think that Waller derives pleasure from the abuse and torture of his slaves? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

How is slave life described in the novel? List at least five ways in which Waller ensures that his slaves are stripped of their freedom. Which seems most invasive to you? Why? What freedom(s) would you most miss if you lost your freedoms today?

(see the answer keys)

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