The Sky Is Gray Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Ernest J. Gaines
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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. At the beginning of Chapter 5, what does James take out when he sees the bus?

2. Why did James tell Ty he was hurting?

3. Who says, "not us to question" when the lady in the dentist's office wonders why children have to be in pain?

4. What city does James say is a hundred times bigger than where they are?

5. What does James do beside Monsieur Bayonne?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does James think about when he is so cold he feels like he's going to die?

2. What does James think about when he looks up at his Mama while they are waiting in the dentist's office?

3. What type of people are waiting in the dentist's office?

4. How are the nights different now that Daddy is in the Army?

5. Why does James say he had to kill the redbird?

6. What does the preacher and the woman who is dressed like a nurse have a conversation about?

7. What other thing does Monsieur Bayonne do besides praying to help James' jaw?

8. What do Ty and James do with Monsieur Bayonne's two hounds?

9. When the preacher asks the young man about his parents, what does the young man tell the preacher?

10. Describe the sleeping arrangements in James' home.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Throughout the story, The Sky is Gray, James and his mother are almost always together. Describe Octavia and James' relationship. Would you consider their relationship to be a normal mother/son connection? Why or why not? How does James feel about his mother? How does Octavia feel about her son? Why doesn't Octavia express her love for James and do you think she really loves him?

Essay Topic 2

The author, Ernest J. Gaines does a wonderful job in describing the outdoor surroundings and scenes in the story. What benefit do these descriptions give the reader of The Sky is Gray? How does it make you feel when you can picture the cold wintry scene in your head and know that Mama and James are having to walk in the cold, wet sleet? Why do you think it was important to give details of the dirt road, the river, and other objects in the story? What element does this add to the story? Does it connect the reader to the characters more? How?

Essay Topic 3

Even though James' Daddy was sent away to the Army, he still plays a very important role in the story, The Sky is Gray. How would the story be different if James' Daddy was still at home? Which characters would be affected the most by his presence in the household? How do you think the story would be different if Jame's Daddy was not mentioned in the book or if he had died? How does Daddy's absence affect Mama? How does Daddy's absence affect James? Do you think that Daddy's absence affects other characters in the book? Who and how?

(see the answer keys)

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