Shooting an Elephant 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. What similarity does Orwell find between the Catholic and Communist ideologies?

2. How does Orwell feel about Gandhi's policy of non-violent protest?

3. How do the police and magistrates feel after the prisoner's death?

4. How do the hospital staff sterilize their equipment between patients?

5. What is Orwell's problem with phrases like "swan song"?

Short Essay Questions

1. According to Orwell, why don't people read?

2. According to Orwell, what could the reader of "Gulliver's Travels" infer about Swift's political views?

3. What is Orwell's occupation, in the first chapter?

4. According to Orwell, what were Burnham's political predictions based on?

5. What effect does Gandhi's autobiography have on Orwell?

6. What is Orwell's conclusion about the price of books in Chapter 15?

7. What are some of the books that Orwell names as "Good Bad Books", and what flaw do they share?

8. What is the substance of the four speakers' speeches, as relayed by Orwell in Chapter 8?

9. What type of children's literature does Orwell prefer?

10. Based on Orwell's description, what is the life cycle of a toad?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Orwell states that he doesn't see the point of creating or reading nonsense poetry. In your opinion, why do some poets choose to create nonsense poetry? Is it inferior to other kinds of poetry? Do you think that the people who read or create nonsense poetry are different from those who read or create other kinds of poetry? If so, how are they different? Be sure to cite specific examples from the text in defending your conclusions.

Essay Topic 2

Orwell extols the virtues of children's literature, such as "Superman", over those of "Tom Sawyer", and other similar stories. Do you agree with Orwell's position? In what ways is "Superman" superior to "Tom Sawyer", as children's literature? Are there any ways in which "Tom Sawyer" is better? Orwell claims that "Tom Sawyer" gives children a "false map" of the world - what false ideals do they get from stories like "Superman"? Which set of falsehoods is preferable? Why? Be sure to cite specific examples from the text to support your position.

Essay Topic 3

Orwell feels that good books should receive long reviews, while poorly-written books should be handled with reviews of only a few lines. How do you feel about his proposition? Have you ever gained useful information from a bad review? Have you ever thought that a good review was too long? Or do you agree that poorly-written books are undeserving of attention? Be sure to cite specific examples from the text to support your position.

(see the answer keys)

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