The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia 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 famous military leader seized control of Bayezid in 1402?

2. What happened with the Orient Express when it went through the Alpine tunnel in Chapter 2?

3. What religious figure was born in the town of Mathura?

4. On what Victoria station platform did Theroux depart on his trip?

5. What university did the professor teach at in Chapter 11?

Short Essay Questions

1. What were Theroux's impressions of the alleged tombs of Cain and Abel?

2. Why was Mr. Radia, with whom Theroux spoke in Chapter 10, so cynical about the English?

3. Why did Paramahansa Yogananda, the guru followed by Mr. Gupta in Chapter 9, go to America?

4. Why were the Ceylonese showing so much devotion to St. Jude?

5. Describe the American hippies encountered by Theroux on the Turkish railway.

6. What was Molesworth's attitude toward tourism?

7. What is ironic about the treatment of the young Indian man fleeing London's racism in Chapter 7?

8. Why did Theroux find it insane that people were attending an American literature conference in Ceylon?

9. Why was Theroux unwilling to explain his first impressions of India to Vishnua Bhardwaj, the Accountant General on the train to Simla?

10. Why did Theroux have an early childhood fascination with train travel?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

While most of the trains boarded by Theroux were rather slow and, in many cases old, some of the trains he rode in Japan were extremely fast. As a result, he felt he did not have rich experiences. Did the speed of the trains interfere with his ability to have revealing conversations with others? Or was some of that due to the Japanese character? How would slower trains facilitate conversation?

Essay Topic 2

Theroux encountered phenomenal levels of censorship in Singapore. How did the strong central government control of people's lives affect their personalities? Do you think the control caused the Singaporeans to be rude and aggressive, as Theroux found them to be? Or did their traditional behavior simply make it easier for the government to control them? Theroux wrote that freedom would be threatened by the Singaporean focus on connecting everyone electronically. How do you think Theroux would view the Internet? Has his concern about reduced freedoms come true or have people been able to avoid government control despite the impact of computers?

Essay Topic 3

In the closing pages, Theroux reflected on how the book could have been different if he had written it as a novel instead of a travel piece. Did he focus too much on what his eyes saw or did he discuss what his imagination knew? Would the book have worked better as fiction? Would it have been necessary for Theroux to invent characters and situations in order to help the narrative flow? Did he make the right choice in writing a travelogue?

(see the answer keys)

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