The 42nd Parallel 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. In News Reel II, what is the event discussed concerning George Smith and his brother?

2. Where does Janey's father go for treatment for cancer?

3. What is the opening newsreel clip about?

4. What is the name of Mac and Maisie's first child?

5. What individual is mentioned in pages 85-103 of the News Reel for being shot for his revolutionary activities?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Fred Hoff offer Mac?

2. What does Johnny do for work, and why does he move to Ocean City?

3. What happens on the train ride to Chicago that Mac takes?

4. Why does Johnny have to leave college?

5. What is the only question that Fainy asks about his job?

6. What does Ike teach Mac?

7. Where does Janey work in Washington DC? What knowledge does she acquire?

8. What kind of personality does Janey have?

9. Who is Annabelle Marie Strang, and why is she important to Johnny?

10. What do you learn about Mac's personality through his choices in pages. 62-84?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Every main character in the 42nd Parallel (Janey, Mac, Ward, Eleanor, and Charley) wants to find a purpose in life and seeks meaning through self-expression. Which characters find purpose and direction to their lives and in what ways? Which characters do not achieve this? Explain.

Essay Topic 2

The 42nd Parallel is written from the third-person point of view where the narrator is an outsider who can report only what he or she sees and hears. This narrator can tell us what is happening, but he cannot tell us the thoughts of the characters. This method allows the author to establish the setting and to supply background information to the reader about people, places, and events. Is this method effective? Why or why not? Would a first-person narrative be more or less appealing? Describe.

Essay Topic 3

John Dos Passos offers a compelling narrative told in an unorthodox and experimental fashion using "Newsreels" with blaring headlines, autobiographical "Camera Eye" sections with poetic stream-of-consciousness, and "biographies" evoking emblematic historical figures like J.P. Morgan, Henry Ford, John Reed, Frank Lloyd Wright, Thorstein Veblen, and the Unknown Soldier. Do you find this style interesting to read? Are you able to follow the story line easily, or are these changes erratic and confusing for you as a reader? Does John dos Passos offer powerful storytelling that holds your attention? Explain.

(see the answer keys)

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