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. What was the S.S. Malone's only port of call in the Azores?

2. How old was Hughes when he sailed away from America?

3. How many monkeys were on the S. S. Malone?

4. Where did Hughes go to see the bullfights in Mexico?

5. What was the name of the dormitory at Columbia in which Hughes lived?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. While sailing along the African shore, what did the crew do from port to port? What did Hughes realize about the black Africans?

3. What was the ritual on the S.S. Malone when the ship crossed the equator?

4. How did Hughes begin writing poetry? Did he like writing poetry? What was his style of poetry?

5. What were the three tragedies Hughes described happening in the village before his departure back to the states?

6. Who was Edward? How did Hughes meet him?

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

8. What were some of the sights and sounds Hughes witnessed upon entering New York waters? How did he react to them?

9. 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?

10. Who was Jocko? Where did he come from? Where did he live?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Hughes met a child, Edward, while in an African port. Hughes said his meetings with Edward inspired his best short story "African Morning." What was Edward's story? Why did Hughes find Edward's situation especially painful? Why did his encounter with Edward inspire a story?

Essay Topic 3

Hughes remained in Mexico for a year while earning the money to leave the country. What had transpired between Hughes and his father that set Hughes on a plan to leave Mexico? What was Hughes's goal while he was there, and how did he go about reaching that goal? Discuss how this plan affected Hughes's life as a man.

(see the answer keys)

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