Notes of a 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. Why did Baldwin think the Negro vote was so easily bought and sold in the 1940s?

2. How does Baldwin describe the relationship between the Negroes and the Jews in Harlem?

3. How does Baldwin describe a "new society" in the book, Notes of a Native Son?

4. The story of Carmen Jones deals with what type of people?

5. Who had the money to pay for the Melodeers' accommodations in Atlanta?

Short Essay Questions

1. According to Baldwin, why are the mannerisms of the character Carmen Jones based on rampant sexuality?

2. Why does Baldwin conclude that the religion of the villagers is Catholicism?

3. Why is it important to examine the myths about African Americans in order to discover what it means to be a "Negro in America"?

4. According to Baldwin, why is it not the fault of the Negro press that the letters-to-the-editor section is the only section where the truth about the life of the Negro can be seen in print?

5. Why were the Melodeers performing in the south?

6. Why is Baldwin living a bleak life in Paris before he befriends a man from New York?

7. Describe Baldwin's tone in Everybody's Protest Novel.

8. Why does Baldwin use the theme of racial prejudice to set the topic and tone for Notes of a Native Son?

9. Why do you think Baldwin decided to reveal his own personal reflections in the chapter entitled Notes of a Native Son?

10. Why did many of the Americans that chose to study in Paris after the war, return to the United States?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare and contrast Baldwin's experiences as a Negro in America to his experiences in Paris and Switzerland. How are these experiences similar? How are these experiences different? Please use examples from the book to support your answer.

Essay Topic 2

In the essay Notes of a Native Son, Baldwin uses his personal experience to describe his life as a native son. How does Baldwin's personal account as a Native Son compare to his summary and criticism of the book Native Son in the essay Many Thousands Gone? Does his account address the issues he had with the original story? Please use examples from the book to support your answer.

Essay Topic 3

Escaping is a major theme throughout many of the essays in Baldwin's book. For instance Baldwin escapes to Switzerland to write his book and African American soldiers escape to Paris for education and French culture. How do you think writing this book served as an escape for Baldwin? Did he write to escape the perils of life or racial prejudice? Did he write to help other understand the escape of African Americans from America and American culture? Please use examples from the book to support your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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