The Rise of Silas Lapham Test | Final 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 Silas Lapham's interactions with Zerilla Dewey and her mother, Moll Millon, in Chapter Twenty Three?

2. What is the problem with Lapham's mills?

3. What subject does Persis urgently need to discuss with Silas in Chapter Eighteen?

4. What is the result of Milton Rogers's deadline for bringing the potential buyers of the mills to Silas Lapham's office?

5. Who does Persis Lapham say was never equal to Tom Corey?

Short Essay Questions

1. What opinion does Penelope Lapham give Tom Corey about the novel Tears, Idle Tears?

2. What is Persis Lapham's reaction to Tom Corey's revelation when Penelope shares it with her?

3. Describe the business deal Silas Lapham and Milton Rogers make regarding the mills.

4. Describe how Silas Lapham confronts Milton Rogers in Chapter Twenty One and how Rogers responds to that confrontation.

5. Describe Anna Corey's visit to the Lapham home in Chapter Twelve.

6. Describe Irene's reaction to the news that Tom Corey prefers her plainer sister, Penelope, to her.

7. Describe Silas Lapham's financial status at the end of Chapter Twenty One and how it compares to his financial status at the beginning of the novel?

8. Who is Mr. Sewell and what does he suggest that Silas and Persis Lapham do about the situation between their daughters and Tom Corey?

9. Describe Silas Lapham's interactions with Zerrilla Dewey and her mother, Moll Millon, in Chapter Twenty Three.

10. What opinion does Anna Corey form of Penelope Lapham during her visit with Persis and Penelope?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the themes of self help and self sufficiency in The Rise of Silas Lapham. Which character or characters illustrate these themes? What does the author seem to be saying about these themes in the novel? Cite examples from the text to support your arguments.

Essay Topic 2

Compare and contrast the characters of Irene Lapham and Penelope Lapham in The Rise of Silas Lapham. Does either sister ever act in atypical ways for a woman of her social class and era? Which characteristics do you think make Penelope more attractive to Tom Corey, and which characteristics do you think make Irene less attractive to Tom Corey? Cite examples from the text to support your arguments.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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