The Best American Essays 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. What nationality is Tan in the essay "Mother Tongue"?

2. What does Ehrlich see violently shaking and jiggling beneath its surface in "Spring"?

3. Why is this gift special to Sanders in "The Inheritance of Tools"?

4. What does McPhee compare his gift to in "Silk Parachute."

5. What question is Danticat asking at the end of the essay, "Westbury Court"?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe what Frazier did with his friends as a child in the essay, "A Lovely Sort of Lower Purpose."

2. Explain McPhee's connection to the parachute from the "Silk Parachute."

3. What happened to Rahm in "The Stunt Pilot"?

4. In "The Blue Machinery," why does Komunyakaa not tell his co-workers that he is going to graduate school in the fall?

5. Describe Aldrich's mother from the essay "Hair."

6. Do you agree with Rhonda's view on hair from the essay "Hair"?

7. In "The Turning Point," describe Petit's desire to make tight roping an art form.

8. What does Ofri seem to be most concerned with in the essay "Merced"?

9. What does Hoagland say is the one thing that can prevent suicide?

10. Do you find truth with McClanahan's essay of the woman writing in the margin and their mutual emotions?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Explain the difference between a top-tier university and what Queenan calls a "middling" university and why people prefer a top-tier school.

Essay Topic 2

"Exquisite Corpse," by Ashraf Rushdy discusses the photography of African Americans that had been lynched. If James Byrd's lynching had been photographed, how would the country's reaction have compared to the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955?

Essay Topic 3

Describe the antagonist of "A Lovely Sort of Lower Purpose" by Ian Frazier.

(see the answer keys)

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