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. Who played the lead male role in the film Carmen Jones?

2. What is not one of the two legends of the "white Gentile" as described by Baldwin?

3. What are there more of in Harlem than any other ghetto in the city?

4. What was the name of the establishment where the Melodeers ate their meals while in Atlanta?

5. According to Baldwin, who are the three most important characters in Uncle Tom's Cabin?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why doesn't Baldwin get upset when the children in the Swiss Village call him Neger on the streets?

2. Why does Baldwin escape to Switzerland?

3. Who was Clarence Warde and what role did he play in the Journey to Atlanta?

4. How does Baldwin describe the Richard Wright's book, Native Son?

5. In the essay entitled Everybody's Protest Novel, why does Baldwin use the first person narrative perspective?

6. Why did ex-GIs question their identity while studying in Paris?

7. Describe how Baldwin's Harlem compares to his parent's Harlem.

8. What allows those former soldiers studying in Paris to remain abroad?

9. What are some of the limitations that make it hard for Baldwin to tolerate the French prison system?

10. What is the significance of having the evil and immoral characters played by very dark complected Negroes in the film Carmen Jones?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Baldwin describes his relationship with his father in Notes of a Native Son. After his father's death, Baldwin feels a sense of melancholy that he never had a chance to bond with his father. Why do you think Baldwin feels this way? What regrets, if any, do you think Baldwin had at the end of his father's life? Please use examples from the book to support your answer.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Notes of a Native Son is a collection of essays written by James Baldwin to illuminate the life conditions of the Negro people during the 1940s and 1950s pre-civil rights era.

In your opinion, what audience did Baldwin want to read this book? Who was his target audience? Did he write his book for African Americans, Whites, Non-Americans, etc? Why do you think he wrote the book for the audience you have identified as his target audience? Please use examples from the book to support your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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