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. What does Irene ask Tom Corey to suggest for the new room in the Laphams' Beacon Street home?

2. What business idea does Tom Corey first propose to Silas Lapham in Chapter Six?

3. In Chapter Four, with whom does Silas Lapham sit in the frame of a bay window at the construction site of the family's new Beacon Street house?

4. In what series of articles is the newspaper going to feature an article on Silas Lapham?

5. Who meets the boat with a carriage and driver to take Silas Lapham and Tom Corey home?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What information is revealed about Zerrilla Dewey in Chapter Eight and what does Walker the bookkeeper seem to imply about her relationship with Silas Lapham?

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

5. Which Lapham sister does Tom Corey talk about when he visits the Laphams and which one does he not talk about, and what do his conversational tendencies indicate?

6. What happens in Chapter Ten when Milton Rogers asks Silas Lapham for a loan, and how does Persis Lapham feel about the situation?

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

8. Why does Bartley Hubbard interview Silas Lapham, and what differing views of success do Hubbard and Lapham have?

9. In what different ways do Silas Lapham and Persis Lapham react to Bromfield Corey's visit to Silas Lapham's office?

10. Describe Tom Corey's discussion with his mother in Chapter Eight about his entering Silas Lapham's paint business.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Paint is a recurring symbol throughout The Rise of Silas Lapham. What do you think Silas Lapham's paint represents? How does Bromfield Corey's paint differ from Silas Lapham's paint? What do you think Corey's paint represents? Cite examples from the text to support your arguments.

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the symbolism of the Lapham family's three homes: 1) the ancestral farm in Vermont, 2) the unfashionable home on Nankeen square, and 3) the construction and destruction of the new, expensive and more fashionable home in Back Bay. What do you think each home represents about Silas Lapham and/or his family? Which class or segment of American society do you think each home represents? What theme do you think William Dean Howells is conveying through the symbolism of these three homes? Cite examples from the text to support your arguments.

Essay Topic 3

Compare and contrast the characters of Persis Lapham, Anna Corey, and Moll Millon. Include a discussion of their role as mothers and their influence on their children's lives. Cite examples from the text to support your arguments.

(see the answer keys)

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