Open City Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Teju Cole
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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 kind of weather does Julius escape when he goes into the American Folk Art Museum?

2. How does Julius say his father’s people reacted to Julius’ father’s death?

3. On his way home from the cinema, who does Julius have a presentiment about seeing again?

4. What issue is remarkably absent from Julius, Farouq and Khalil’s discussion of Middle East politics?

5. What does Julius say his experience of his oma’s visit was like, when she came to visit in Nigeria?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Julius say he ended up at the Nigerian Military School, when his father was not a soldier?

2. What are Julius’ thoughts on the weather and global warming?

3. What does Julius say his relationship with his mother is like?

4. Who is V. and what is her relationship with Julius?

5. How does Julius explain his split with Nadège?

6. What are the advantages and disadvantages of Teju Cole’s internal, peripatetic style in Open City?

7. What do we know about Julius’ relationships, in this first chapter?

8. What kind of trip does Julius make to Brussels?

9. What does Nadège’s limp make Julius think about, and what does it make him see about Nadège?

10. How does Julius describe his encounter with the Czechoslovakian tourist he meets in the café?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write a character sketch of the author based on his style and content. What can we tell about him, based on the choices he makes in terms of description, characterization and plot? What values does he hold dear? What are his hopes and fears? What kind of person do you think he is? Anchor your sketch with passages in the book.

Essay Topic 2

The character of Julius spends a great deal of time “reading” the external world of the city, telling what stories he knows about neighborhoods and historical figures and events—but what strategies does Julius use, for finding the internal experience of people, and getting to know the deeper life of individuals? What role does loneliness play, in Julius’ world? How much space does he have for other people? Does he welcome them in, or keep them out? What clues does Teju Cole give us about the character’s psychology on this question?

Essay Topic 3

Is this a novel with a moral center and a single cluster of fixations buried in a welter of urban impressions? Or is it a scattered inventory of experiences that never really define a central set of concerns in the author’s life? Is this a book about a man’s psychology, or a book about a man’s views of New York City?

(see the answer keys)

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