The Log from the Sea of Cortez 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. According to John Steinbeck, what does a rusting, disorderly boat with its pain peeling off indicate?

2. What are John Steinbeck's lamentations about?

3. Where does the expedition team go the next morning, March 13?

4. Steinbeck worries about the soldiers' reaction to what during their travel?

5. Where is the expedition party heading?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is Steinbeck's theory on the origin of the name of a certain place? What was the origin of Steinbeck's musings?

2. The expedition party reaches the town of San Lucas. Describe the town as mentioned by Steinbeck, and add your own theories on how the town looks and feels like.

3. Briefly state the discussions made by Steinbeck and Ricketts on different ways of thinking, particularly looking at the society and the balance that is maintained all the time, as specified by their given example on employment.

4. Briefly explain Steinbeck's theory on "murdering" a boat.

5. Describe Steinbeck's theory on aphrodisiacs and how he encounters some in Cabo San Lucas.

6. Tiny and Sparky are described as almost two halves of one person. Make some speculations on their appearance and characters in general.

7. What difference does this particular expedition have over the other travels? Why is this so?

8. Briefly discuss Steinbeck's theory on the complications of western systems compared to the simplicity of some other cultures, such as the Indians'.

9. What are Steinbeck's thoughts on his expedition compared to those of Charles Darwin? What are the similarities and differences?

10. Describe San Jose Island and how it appears to the expedition party. Give an explanation to the things that the party see when they try to go ashore in the island.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Steinbeck and Ricketts ponder on the two types of biologists - those who study dead, preserved animals and those who study life in all its complexity. Compare the two types, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the two, and identify the situations where they will excel. What advantages will one have over the other? If you were to become a biologist, which type would you be? Why?

Essay Topic 2

One of Steinbeck's lamentations is over how a good hypothesis can blind a person to an alternative theory which can disprove it. What instances in the story support this theory of the author? What can be the reasons for this blindness? Are there any more observations made by the author that supports this theory?

Essay Topic 3

Steinbeck frequently relates marine organisms to men and vice versa, and thinks of both as equally representative of a larger pattern. Do you support Steinbeck's thinking that they both represent a larger pattern? What pattern could this be? Support your answers with specific instances from the story, if not about men then about marine organisms.

(see the answer keys)

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