Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Mel White
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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. In what religion was Mel raised?

2. Whose symbolic child does Mel consider himself to be?

3. What question is Mel afraid to ask?

4. What is one book Mel writes soon after producing Though I Walk Through the Valley?

5. What is one reason that Mel finds for which Sodom was not destroyed?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who is Jeffrey S. and what is his story?

2. How does Jim Morgan broaden White's understanding of God?

3. What does White worry about on his honeymoon, and how does he solve the problem?

4. How does Lyla become a Christian?

5. What does White start to pursue concerning his feelings of attraction to other men?

6. How does Mel and Lyla's relationship develop?

7. How does Mel describe his grandmother Noni as far as religion is concerned?

8. Where does White begin meeting gay men, and who is the "Dr. Smith" that White meets this way?

9. What does Mel White recall about a young seminarian who preached at a church camp Mel attends when he is twelve?

10. Why does Mel think his grandmother Noni was so zealous?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Stranger at the Gate ends on a happy note. Discuss the following:

1. Why do you think many (most?) people want what they perceive as a happy or good ending to a novel? Explain your opinion. Do you? Why or why? not?

2. What are at least three reasons to read non-fiction? Discuss each one in light of Stranger at the Gate and if it fulfills some or all of the reasons you mention. Give examples as to why Stranger at the Gate is or is not successful in fulfilling the reasons you discuss.

3. Do you think reading solely for entertainment is as good a reason to read as any other? Why or why not? Can any work of fiction or non-fiction, no matter how poorly written, enlighten, teach, stimulate thought? Why or why not?

4. Would you have wished the ending to be different? Why or why not? Would that ending have changed what the author wished to convey with the book?

Essay Topic 2

Often titles reveal much about one or more aspects of a novel. Discuss the following:

1. What do you think is the purpose of a title? How closely related to a major theme(s) of a book do you think a title should be? Or should it be?

2. The phrase Stranger at the Gate appears in the Christian Bible in the story about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Research the story and write why you think White named his book after that story.

3. If you were the writer of Stranger at the Gate and your editor said the title must be changed, what would you choose? Why?

4. How do you feel when you have finished reading a book and you still do not understand the meaning of the title in relation to the book?

Essay Topic 3

Stranger at the Gate is a memoir by Mel White. Discuss the following:

1. Define the word "genre" in the context of literary criticism.

2. Why do you think literature is categorized by genre?

3. Does it help to know how a book is categorized as to its genre before reading it? Explain.

4. Memoir used to be considered inferior to what are considered "the classics." Why do you think this is so? Do you believe a book such as Stranger at the Gate is inferior to something such as A Tale of Two Cities? Explain.

5. What is your favorite genre and why?

(see the answer keys)

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