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. Who tries to sell books and pamphlets to men inside the railroad cars?

2. Who convinces Mac to stay another month in Nevada despite Maisie's moving letter?

3. When Ike finds out that he has a venereal disease, what does a bum tell him to take for a cure?

4. In the news clip about Harrison's speech, what does the toast celebrate?

5. What does Maisie tell Mac in her letter to him?

Short Essay Questions

1. Where does Mac live with Maisie and what is their relationship?

2. Why does Johnny have to leave college?

3. Describe Mac's life as a child.

4. Why do the rancher and his wife not approve of Mac?

5. What decision does Mac make regarding Maisie and her pregnancy?

6. What kind of personality does Janey have?

7. After meeting Ben Evans, what does Mac decide?

8. When Fainy accepts a job with Doc Bingham, what does he learn about his new place of employment right away?

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

10. What happens at the theater? What does Mac do?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe Eleanor. What is her role in the story? How does she compare with the other four main characters? What struggles must she overcome? What was the author trying to accomplish by creating Eleanor's character in the novel?

Essay Topic 2

Politics play a significant role throughout the entire book. In the 42nd Parallel, John dos Passos asks and sometimes offers occasional answers to big philosophical questions about the role and rights of workers in society, the equality of men and women, and important figures of the early 20th century. Do you find John dos Passos' arguments convincing? Why or why not? Do any of his characters show strong political opinions and, if so, about what? Describe.

Essay Topic 3

Create a brief character study of Mac. What does he look like? What are his positive personality traits? What are some of his negative characteristics? What are his hopes and fears? What motivates him at this point in his life?

(see the answer keys)

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