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 does Ofri think about her diagnosis in "Merced"?

2. In "Westbury Court," who moves into the apartment down the hall after the lady and her children move out?

3. Who has the worst hair of Aldrich's family?

4. What is the main sign that McClanahan's first marriage is doomed to sadness?

5. Pertaining to "Spring," what is Ehrlich recovering from?

Short Essay Questions

1. Do you think Ofri realizes she cannot have control over life or death in the essay "Merced"?

2. What importance does Gates see in one's hairstyle, particularly with blacks in "In the Kitchen"?

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

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

5. How does Tan learn English in "Mother Tongue"?

6. Why do people discriminate against Tan's mother in "Mother Tongue"?

7. What does Gates recall about Nat King Cole in "In the Kitchen"?

8. Describe Dillard's perception of Rahm in "The Stunt Pilot".

9. Why does Sanders place such importance on tools in the essay, "The Inheritance of Tools"?

10. What does Frazier say about adults and their inability to be idle in his essay, "A Lovely Sort of Lower Purpose"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Considering "The Telephone" and "Mail," compare and contrast the benefits of life without the invention of both the telephone and e-mail. How do you think our society would be different without technological advances like cell phones or e-mail?

Essay Topic 2

"On Seeing England for the First Time" by Jamaica Kincaid discusses her relation of her nation's identity to England. Do you think your response to that superior country would be the same as Kincaid's or different? Explain.

Essay Topic 3

Compare and contrast the role that 'secrets' play in the essays, "The Blue Machinery of Summer" and "Book Marks."

(see the answer keys)

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