Small Steps Test | Final 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. Who takes Armpit to the hotel?

2. Why is Kaira crying in the shower?

3. What happened to Kaira's money?

4. What does Kaira have to say when she calls Armpit that night?

5. What does Armpit's boss joke about concerning boys from the center?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does X-Ray tell Armpit and how does Armpit respond?

2. Describe the interaction between Armpit and Kaira in the hotel restaurant.

3. What does the narrator say about what happens in the events surrounding Kaira?

4. Describe the phone conversation between X-Ray and Armpit.

5. What does Armpit stop to buy and then where do Kaira and Armpit go?

6. Describe Armpit's conversation with Detective Newburg.

7. What happens to make Kaira throw coffee in Armpit's face and leave?

8. What have Aileen and El Genius been doing with Kaira's money, and why does El Genius want Armpit to come to San Francisco?

9. What "game" do Kaira and Armpit play when they leave the hotel restaurant and what does Kaira disclose to Armpit?

10. What does Armpit decide about the trip and how does he feel about his decision?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the following:

1. Who is/are the protagonists of the story and why?

2. Who is/are the antagonists of the story and why?

3. Which 3 secondary characters have the greatest impact on the plot?

4. Are any of the characters dispensable and which ones? Why or why not?

5. Do you think this is a character-driven plot or an action-driven plot? Explain.

Essay Topic 2

Often, authors will write about "what they know," and sometimes knowing a little about the author makes the books more interesting. Discuss the following:

1. Research and give a brief biographical sketch of Louis Sachar.

2. What in Sachar's background may have helped him in writing Small Steps? What may have influenced the way he depicts various characters and scenes?

3. Do you think there is always some of the author's own life in his/her novels? Why or why not? Give examples.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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