The Big Sea: An Autobiography 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. How many ports along the west African shore did the S.S. Malone visit?

2. What did the sailors do on the first day out of the harbor on the way to Africa?

3. How did Hughes think poems were like rainbows?

4. What did "Negro" mean in the United States?

5. What did Hughes's father decide he should study in school?

Short Essay Questions

1. What happened aboard the S.S. Malone the week before the ship reached the Virgin Islands on its return to New York?

2. What happened to Hughes when he, his mother, and his grandmother went to Mexico? Why did they go there, and when did they return?

3. What kinds of things happened on board Hughes's ship from New York to Rotterdam? How were they different than the typical passage aboard the S.S. Malone?

4. How did Hughes convince his father to allow him to attend Columbia University in New York? When did Hughes leave Mexico for college?

5. What did Hughes notice about the way Mexicans and Negros were treated differently, particularly on his way home from Mexico to Cleveland, Ohio?

6. Where did Hughes find a more permanent job in Paris? What were his initial job duties? What important new perk did this job offer him?

7. How did Hughes react to being thought of as Mexican on his way home from Mexico? How did he use this misidentity to his advantage?

8. What were James Hughes's plans for his son? How did they differ from what Hughes wanted for himself?

9. After leaving college, what jobs did Hughes try to get? What job did he end up getting?

10. Who were the Reeds? Why did Hughes know them? What important event in Hughes's life as a young child happened while he knew the Reeds?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Hughes wrote the book "Not Without Laughter" during the summer after his junior year at Lincoln University. What was the book about, and what did it mean to Hughes? What does the phrase "not without laughter" mean and why was it fitting for this novel?

Essay Topic 2

Hughes met many people in New York society when Harlem was in its heyday. Who was Carl Van Vechten? How did Hughes know him? What was unique about the man and his parties? What career-damaging thing happened to both men nearly simultaneously?

Essay Topic 3

What was "The Weary Blues"? Discuss how Hughes came to write it, how it was received, and from where it got its title.

(see the answer keys)

This section contains 1,302 words
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