River God Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Wilbur Smith
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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. Though Taita is an accomplished physician, what part of the human anatomy still confuses him (pg 88)?

2. What hunt do Taita and Lostris attend with Pharaoh before the windstorm strikes?

3. Who is Kratas?

4. What does "Lostris" mean?

5. What does Tanus name as one of the single worst afflictions to settle on Egypt?

Short Essay Questions

1. What are Taita's first descriptions of Lostris? How are his emotions different from what the reader might expect of a eunuch? How does it help explain his character?

2. When the people cry out to Pharaoh to give Tanus mercy from the death sentence, what does Pharaoh do? What leads to this decision? Does it show Pharaoh's mercy or his weakness?

3. When Taita disguises himself as a priest so that he is not recognized in his native city Thebes, how is he treated? What does this say about the Egyptian people's attitude toward their religion? What does this say about the priests' ethics?

4. Throughout this first section, what evidence does Taita give that he is a favored slave? What was the cost of this favor?

5. How does Tanus show his devotion to his chosen god Horus? How do the people respond to this devotion? What does this say about the roles of the gods in the Egyptians' lives?

6. What is the significance of the double crown of Egypt? Why might Taita mention it so often when he describes Pharaoh?

7. What is the significance in the fact that Tanus is nicknamed Akh-Horus? Is it important that Hui, a boy who defected from the Shrikes in exchange for his life, gives him this name?

8. What is Tanus's reaction to the news of Lostris's coming marriage? What does this reveal about his character? Is this an admirable reaction?

9. What does Taita learn from his friend Tiamat about the Shrikes? How does this explain the destitution of Egypt and the weakness of Pharaoh?

10. How does Taita foreshadow the coming marriage for Lostris? How does this affect the element of surprise within the novel?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What value of the story comes in its historical background? Does the story become any richer or more plausible because of the history? How might you read the novel if you knew it was completely fictional?

Essay Topic 2

What is the question of slavery in Taita's mind? Despite his position in life, why does he justify it? How does his opinion fit with ancient Egyptian culture? Reference pages 118 and 432, among others, for Taita's words.

Essay Topic 3

Taita usually refers to his country as "this very Egypt". How does this show respect? How does it reveal his sentiments toward his nation? How is this sentiment bound up with his belief in the gods?

(see the answer keys)

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