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. Why was Tilly upset about Roger Stilbeck's letter?

2. What was Robin's primary goal in his travels?

3. What was Elspeth eating in a "funny" way at Mrs. Nimmo's the day after the party?

4. According to Tilly, what was a main cause of the native children's bloated stomachs?

5. What birds did Crawford and Elspeth observe doing a mating ritual?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Why was Tilly so overwhelmed by Africa in the first few weeks in Thika?

4. How did Robin and Kupanya differ in their approach to negotiating the terms of a workers' contract?

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

6. How did Elsepth Huxley describe the smell of Africa?

7. What were the Huxley's first impressions upon seeing the land that they had bought?

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

9. Why did Mrs. Palmer tell Elspeth Huxley that she should get two of any animal she wished to keep as a pet?

10. What kind of person did Ian Crawford appear to be?

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

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?

Essay Topic 3

Njombo was accused by Sammy of causing the death of his third wife and the maiming of his son. In response, Sammy places a curse on Njombo, which very nearly kills him. Write an essay explaining why a firm belief in the power of curses could actually lead to someone's death. Would Njombo had survived if the chief had not arranged for the curse to be lifted? How powerful is the human mind when it comes to health? Why were the Europeans determined to save Njombo by focusing on the curse rather than using Western medicine?

(see the answer keys)

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