Riders of the Purple Sage 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 does Venters block the entrance to Surprise Valley?

2. Who founded the town of Cottonwood?

3. What does Lassiter say when Jane offers him to be a rider for her?

4. How many cattle are in the red herd?

5. When Jane hears that her riders left her, she prays. What does she vow after her wrathful prayer?

Short Essay Questions

1. Bess tells Venters that she has memories of women and children. Who do you think these people were? What do you think their relationship was with Bess?

2. Why does Jane keep Milly's grave overgrown and hidden?

3. Compare the entrance to Surprise Valley under the stone bridge and the entrance to the ancient cave dwellers up the steep steps. How are these the same and how are they different? What did they mean to the ancient peoples and how are they important to Venters and Bess?

4. Mrs. Larkin would like for Fay to be raised by Jane, but without Mormon teachings. According to the story, what is Mrs. Larkin really afraid of for her little Fay if she is raised Mormon?

5. How does Venters find the openings to the canyons? How does he find Oldring's den?

6. Who is the "unseen hand" and what role is he playing in what is happening to Jane and her ranch? Why is the "unseen hand" at work?

7. Venter asks Bess, "what were you to Oldring?" How does Bess answer and what does her answer mean? Since Venters stops her before she can explain further, do you think there might be more to her story?

8. In Utah the Mormons are usually prosperous, while the Gentiles barely make enough to eat. Do you think Jane's father made his money in a way that hurt or used Gentiles in the area?

9. How did Jane's father make his wealth? What did he own that others needed? How has Jane changed that legacy and what effect has the change had on the people of Cottonwoods?

10. Venters sees Oldring and the Masked Rider ride across the edge of Jane's land. Why is this ominous? What do the people know about Oldring?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What is important about the imagery of the cliff dwellers? Why is this important to the story? How are the lives of the dwellers connected to Venters and Bess or Lassiter and Jane? Why do you believe the author used cliff dwellers in the story? What does it add to the story of the valley?

Essay Topic 2

Is the character of Oldring good or bad? Describe the stories about Oldring that are bad. Describe the stories about Oldring that are good. In the end, how do you feel about this character? Can you imagine this story without him? Why? Why not?

Essay Topic 3

What is the symbolism of gold in this story? What three times is it used in the story? What characters are involved? Describe the scenes and then explain the symbolism of gold.

(see the answer keys)

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