Small Steps 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 does Armpit say he'll never do again?

2. What do Kaira and her band spontaneously decide to do?

3. What are Armpit and X-Ray doing at the opening of Chapter 5?

4. What does Armpit celebrate with Ginny on their daily walk?

5. What does Kaira ask Armpit?

Short Essay Questions

1. What happens that makes Theodore decide to turn his life around?

2. What does Armpit impulsively do as far as Tatiana is concerned?

3. What happens when X-Ray wakes Armpit the next morning?

4. Why does Armpit want to borrow one of Ginny's stuffed animals and which one does she recommend?

5. What happens to Armpit on his way home, and why does the incident not bother him?

6. What does Kaira decide to sing and how does it turn out?

7. Why are Armpit's parents concerned about Armpit taking Ginny to the concert?

8. Why does Armpit get angry with X-Ray, and how does X-Ray respond?

9. Who is X-Ray and what does he want of Armpit and what is Armpit's initial response to X-Ray's proposal?

10. What makes Tatiana decide not to go with Armpit and who does he invite?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the following:

1. What do you think are the characteristics of a successful novel?

2. Analyze and discuss Small Steps based upon the criteria you decide upon in #1 and judge if Small Steps is a successful novel.

3. Do you think the criteria for a successful novel should be different if it is written for adults versus young adults? Why or why not? Would most adults consider Small Steps a successful novel? What about young teens?

Essay Topic 2

Important elements in Chapter 14 and 15 include the Mayor's outright suggestion that the actions of the police are motivated and/or defined by racism and the appearance of the Mayor herself. This comes across as something of a deus ex machina, a term first used in Ancient Greek theater to describe an incident in which conflict was resolved by the unexpected intervention of an all-powerful god, arbitrary but necessary for the story to be resolved how the author wanted it to be. Yes, the author of "Small Steps" has made an effort to establish at least some relationship between Armpit and the Mayor (Chapter 1), but there is the sense that the only reason that scene exists is to make the mayor's appearance here seem a little less unlikely. If that is, in fact, the case, the attempt doesn't really work. It seems highly unlikely that such an important official as the mayor, even one who enjoys Kaira's music as much as this one seems to, would be on the crowded floor of the stadium during a concert.

1. Do you think it is likely or unlikely that the police's actions were partly due to racism? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Small Steps to support your reasoning.

2. Explain in detail, why the mayor being at the concert was a type of deus ex machina. Use examples from your own life and Small Steps to support your reasoning.

3. Explain, in depth, why the mayor being at the concert was or was not a narrative contrivance. Use examples from your own life and Small Steps to support your reasoning.

Essay Topic 3

Over the course of Small Steps, Armpit grows as a person in both complexity and understanding. Small Steps might be considered a slice of Armpit's larger story of his "coming of age." It might be said that Small Steps is a "bildungsroman" of Theodore Johnson. Discuss the following:

1. Define Bildungsroman, or "Coming of Age," and give several examples from literature you have read.

2. Trace and analyze the character of Armpit as he changes from a more immature, gullible boy to a wiser, young man. What are the significant events that change Armpit?

3. After thoroughly analyzing Armpit's growth throughout Small Steps, do you think Small Steps could be considered Armpit's Coming of Age story? Why or why not?

4. Are there any other characters in Small Steps who go through a Coming of Age experience? Who? Why do you think so?

(see the answer keys)

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