Small Steps Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. How does El Genius get into Armpit's room?

2. Who has been embezzling money from Kaira?

3. When does Kaira say she thinks of Armpit?

4. When does Detective Newburg call Armpit?

5. Who accompanies Kaira to the lobby?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 2

There are a number of interesting questions raised by Small Steps. Questions that Sachar most likely want readers to consider and think through carefully. Discuss the following:

1. What does the term "author agenda" mean?

2. Name one idea/concept you think may have been a part of the Sachar' agenda. Analyze that idea throughout the book and discuss Sachar' probable agenda concerning that idea.

2. Do you think writers who have an agenda for writing should point it out in a preface?

3. How often do you think fiction is written with a clear agenda in mind by the author?

4. Research the life of Sachar and see how his life might have influenced his writing.

Essay Topic 3

The narrative manifests its thematic interest in the alluring power of money. Also here, it's important to consider how, in some fundamental ways, there is little moral, essential difference between what X-Ray does to Armpit and what El Genius is later revealed to be doing to Kaira. The scope and level of violence are quite different, but the basic principles behind their actions are the same where greed rules.

1. Do you think that a huge sum of money will corrupt everyone? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Small Steps to support your reasoning.

2. Explain whether what Armpit and X-Ray did is the same or not the same as what El Genius did except on a smaller scale. Use examples from your own life and Small Steps to support your reasoning.

3. Do you think X-Ray and Armpit should have been punished for scalping and using fake tickets? Was X-Ray more to blame than Armpit? Why or why not? Use examples from your own life and Small Steps to support your reasoning.

(see the answer keys)

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