The Rise of Silas Lapham 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. Which of the following statements does not describe Irene Lapham?

2. What does Anna Corey wish her son had done instead of join Silas Lapham's paint business?

3. What business idea does Tom Corey propose to Silas Lapham that meets with Lapham's approval?

4. Where are the Laphams traveling when they meet another Boston family, the rich and fashionable Coreys?

5. Which of the following statements does not appear in the description of Silas Lapham that Bartley Hubbard writes for his newspaper article?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Bromfield Corey's life and how it differs from Silas Lapham's.

2. What is Anna Corey's reaction to her son's decision to go into the mineral paint business?

3. Why do the Coreys consider themselves "better" than the Laphams, and what virtues does Silas Lapham possess that the Coreys do not?

4. How has Persis Lapham supported her husband and his business over the years and how does Lapham honor her for her support?

5. How does Penelope react to Tom Corey's visits in Chapter Eleven, and what does her behavior indicate?

6. What different opinions do Silas and Persis Lapham have in Chapter Seven for why Tom Corey visits them?

7. Why are the Laphams considered deficient in social graces?

8. What business proposals does Tom Corey suggest to Silas Lapham?

9. How does Silas Lapham feel about having Tom Corey work for him, and how does he feel about Tom's work?

10. What do Tom Corey and his father find unusual about the beverages the Laphams drink and Mrs. Lapham's social entertaining?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the mistaken romance of Irene and Tom Corey. What factors make Irene think Tom is interested in her? What factors make the Coreys and Laphams think Tom is interested in Irene? What factors indicate Tom is really interested in Penelope? Cite examples from the text to support your arguments.

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the concept of social class in The Rise of Silas Lapham. Give examples of how at least three of the following characters exhibit typical or atypical behavior for their social class in the era in which the novel is set: Silas Lapham, Persis Lapham, Anna Corey, Nanny Corey, Tom Corey, Penelope Lapham, Zerrilla Dewey, Moll Millon, and Milton Rogers. What do you think William Dean Howells is trying to say about social class in the Gilded Age through these characters? Cite examples from the text to support your arguments.

Essay Topic 3

The Rise of Silas Lapham takes place in Boston in the 1880s, during America's Gilded Age, and is the story of a self-made family's attempt to enter Boston's Brahmin society. The characters live through the Civil War and see the rise of enormous industry and enormous wealth in the post-war era. Discuss how the cultural, geographical, and chronological settings affect the story and how the characters and story might differ if William Dean Howells had set the novel in England during the 1680s or in Los Angeles during the 1980s instead. Cite examples from the text to support your arguments.

(see the answer keys)

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