The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood 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 eventually attracted the attention of the natives?

2. Why did Mr. Roos kick Sammy?

3. What building material did Njombo refuse to use?

4. What did Robin agree to pay for the work?

5. How long did it take the workers to build their own huts?

Short Essay Questions

1. Briefly describe Elspeth's education in Africa.

2. Describe the personality of Pioneer Mary.

3. Why was Robin having a difficult time with the oxen?

4. What was Lettice Palmer's first reaction to the health conditions in Africa?

5. Why were the natives so fascinated by the lamp, but did not care about the gramophone?

6. How did the differences between Mrs. Nimmo and Tilly come through in their first meeting?

7. What did Lettice Palmer find most disturbing about Africa and what was she most concerned about for herself and fellow Europeans?

8. How did Mrs. Palmer react to the condition of the man who was attacked and murdered on her property?

9. How did Juma view the local inhabitants outside of Nairobi?

10. Why did Elspeth get upset at the end of Crawford's story about the whydah birds?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Elspeth, despite her European heritage, sincerely believed that a charm would protect her duiker, Twinkle. In what ways did her belief illustrate how her upbringing was becoming essentially African? Why was she more open to the notion of protective charms than the adults around her? Was she doing a better job adapting to local traditions and belief-systems?

Essay Topic 2

There are many interesting observations about men and women in the book. In various encounters, some of the natives are practically naked, which seems to offend the European men more than the European women. In addition, the African women often work much harder than their men and Ian said that African men were appalled at the level of freedom European women had. Write an essay outlining the different attitudes toward gender roles displayed by the Africans and the Europeans. Did either culture seem to have a better belief system? Did either side tolerate the others' beliefs? Was there room for compromise or were the two world-views too far apart to bridge?

Essay Topic 3

Elspeth Huxley pointed out that the Kikuyu language did not have any words for "thank you" and that the Europeans therefore often accused them of ingratitude. Why did the Kikuyu lack the words to express gratitude? Were they truly lacking in gratitude? How important are words in expressing thanks? Did they seem to display gratitude toward one another? Was Elspeth perhaps right when she said the natives simply viewed the Europeans as different and therefore, not in need of thanks?

(see the answer keys)

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