The Road to Wigan Pier 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. Why did men chew tobacco in the mines?

2. What did Orwell say the fillers looked like?

3. Where was Orwell's bed in his room at the Brooker's house?

4. What was offered a very few of the miners in the better built mines?

5. According to Mrs. Brooker, who was "at Canada?"

Short Essay Questions

1. Who were the Brookers? How did Orwell describe them? What did they look like? Behave like?

2. Describe the typical coal mine Orwell explored while studying the work conditions in the mines.

3. What did the miners look like when they emerged from the coal mines? What were some of the first things they did upon coming above ground?

4. Why did Orwell believe it was important to understand the working conditions of the miners? What did he see as the larger story?

5. How did Orwell describe the housing in the industrial towns of England? When were most of the houses built?

6. What were the caravan dwellings Orwell speaks about in his book? How many were there in Wigan? What were the living conditions in these caravan dwelling?

7. What was one major convenience added to the more modern mines in England? What myth often told about miners did this modern convenience dispel?

8. How did a miner clean up upon returning home? Why was cleaning up after work such a difficult task?

9. Why were the fillers an important part of the coal mining business? What were their jobs?

10. Describe the meals Orwell was offered while living at the Brookers. Who cooked the meals? What were the boarders given to eat for dinner?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In his descriptions of unemployment in the middle and working classes, Orwell explained that the men and their families in each class had a vastly different reaction to the condition. Orwell contended that the working class man was better equipped to lose his job and become unemployed than the middle class man. What were some of the reasons Orwell cited for this? Can you find proof in studying the middle and working classes to support Orwell's contention that one class was better equipped than another to be out of work?

Essay Topic 2

There is an inherent conflict on Socialism between the advancement of the machine state and industrialization and the working man's job. How did Orwell address this conflict? How did he believe Socialism should address the conflict? Do you believe the two--the machine state and the working man--are by nature at odds with each other? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Orwell used his childhood and upbringing as an example of social class, class prejudices and class values. Discuss the differences Orwell saw between the bourgeois, the lower-middle class and the working class in England in the 1930's. Why was this distinction between the classes important to Orwell in his discussion of Socialism?

(see the answer keys)

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