Stuck in Neutral 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. Shawn, Cindy, and Paul all know what when it comes to their father?

2. In the stanza of the poem that opens Chapter 9, what is the ghost bird replacing?

3. Why is Shawn glad that Ally leaves before he got up?

4. What does Shawn explain at the end of the angel dream?

5. Who is referred to as being trapped at Shawn's house all night?

Short Essay Questions

1. After he sees his father's appearance on The Alice Ponds Show, why does Shawn say that he is floating in an ocean of negativity?

2. While Shawn has a doozy of a seizure during the end of the Alice Ponds show, what does he experience?

3. What did Shawn's father do at the Pacific Science Center when Shawn was eight years old?

4. What does Shawn think about after viewing the clip of an interview between Sydney McDaniel and Earl Detraux on the Alice Ponds Show?

5. Why is it significant that Shawn's father volunteers to take care of Shawn by himself overnight and sends Vonda home?

6. Shawn looks at his father, who is sitting on the bed apparently considering whether or not he should end Shawn's life. What does he notice about his father's appearance?

7. On The Alice Ponds Show, there is a clip of an interview between Sydney McDaniel and Earl Detraux. What does Earl Detraux look like and what is his demeanor?

8. Why is Vonda excited to meet Shawn's father?

9. Paul and Cindy discuss their father's appearance on The Alice Ponds Show. What do they think about what their father says on the show?

10. What is Sydney McDaniel's definition of parental love, as offered on The Alice Ponds Show?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

When Shawn's father shows up at his class with a cameraman to tape footage for a PBS special on "Appropriate Allocation Decisions in an Era of Diminishing Funding," what are the similarities and differences between Shawn's father's beliefs and actions with those of Shawn's teacher and teacher's aides and how does Shawn feel about these people?

Part 1) What is the approach of Shawn's teacher and aids to the students in the class? What does Shawn think about these characters and why? How do these characters react to Shawn's father and his documentary? Why?

Part 2) While Sydney McDaniel is videotaping his special for PBS, what does he say about educating people who "cannot learn?" What does Shawn think about the points that his father makes? What in particular that his father says catches Shawn's interest in a big way?

Part 3) What are there similarities or differences between Shawn's father and the classroom teacher and aides regarding the way they think about and treat the children? What are they and why do they exist?

Essay Topic 2

Watching The Alice Ponds Show, it is apparent that both Sydney McDaniel and Earl Detraux say that killing their children is about doing the right thing for the kids. Write an essay about the theme of parental responsibility and mercy killing a disabled child as it relates to Sydney and/or Earl. Pick one of these topics to write about.

Topic 1) What is Sydney's attitude toward the mercy killing a disabled child? It is analogous to what type of disciplinary action a parent might take? How does he relate it to parental responsibility? What is his attitude toward Earl's mercy killing of his child, Collin? Who or what does Sydney say killed Collin?

Topic 2) What is Earl's attitude toward the mercy killing of his own son? Why does he say he smothers him? How does he relate it to parental responsibility? What does he say when asked how he would feel if a cure for Collin is invented? How does this relate to parental responsibility? Is Earl's behavior an example of a mature level of parental responsibility? Why or why not?

Topic 3) What are the similarities and differences between Sydney's and Earl's point of view on parental responsibility and mercy killing a disabled child. Do you think that Earl's actions influence Sydney, validate Sydney's already-existing point of view, or something else? Is Sydney's thought process about mercy killing a disabled child indicative of a mature level of parental responsibility? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Shawn thinks about how he and his father both have double jointed thumbs and how his father will sometimes perform the "thumb ritual."

Part 1) Provide at least three reasons how the author uses the double-jointed thumbs as an element in the novel. For each, explain how it adds to the novel. Does the juxtaposition of Shawn's thumbs and his father's thumbs create a comparison, contrast, irony, foreshadow, or something else?

Part 2) How does Shawn say he feels during this ritual. Explain what Shawn's feelings about his father during this ritual contributes to the novel.

(see the answer keys)

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