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 did Robin desire after making his fortune?

2. What are siafu?

3. What was Sammy's ethnic mix?

4. What faith did Juma claim to be?

5. With what did the natives think the Europeans created light at night?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How did Mrs. Nimmo react to the wild New Year's party?

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. How did Huxley describe the Kikuyu attitude toward theft?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Early in the book, Robin Huxley had a confrontation with the locals over the way he wanted his family's house built. Why was Robin so determined to recreate an English-style house in Africa? Why were the Africans so opposed to some of Robin's ideas? In what ways would adopting the local customs make it easier to settle in to a new area? Is it always advisable, or even possible, to recreate a certain lifestyle in a foreign land? What are the benefits of adopting the local traditions? Do you think Robin and the other Europeans were concerned about losing their European identity if they adopted too many local customs?

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

The Huxleys encountered two "foreign" concepts in marriage during their stay in Africa--the notion of a "bride-price" paid to the prospective bride's family, and polygamy. Discuss how these two practices could have impacted the society in Thika. What would have been accomplished by Njombo paying a family for a bride? Why was he not allowed to marry her without sufficient goats to give? Did the woman appear to have any say in the matter? How did the multiple wives live? What were the European attitudes toward these practices?

(see the answer keys)

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