The White Boy Shuffle Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Paul Beatty
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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 issue does Gunnar's elementary school take to absurd levels?

2. What does Franz do for the rest of his life?

3. What does Gunnar's mother do about his getting in trouble?

4. What is the neighborhood at the top of the hill from Gunnar's neighborhood?

5. What is Gunnar's mother tired of seeing her children do all the time?

Short Essay Questions

1. Where have Gunnar and his family moved and what kind of neighborhood is it?

2. How does Nick help Gunnar fit into the neighborhood better and how does Gunnar get a basketball?

3. What does Gunnar's elementary school emphasize?

4. What does Gunnar do when he returns to class following his health examination?

5. With whom has Gunnar become friends in the three years in his new neighborhood and why can he walk unafraid there? What is one of the disadvantages of one of his friends?

6. How does Gunnar feel about organized basketball and why? What changes for Nick and Gunnar because of basketball and how do they deal with the change?

7. Why does Gunnar's mother send her children outside and where do they go? In what kind of condition is the place?

8. What does Gunnar think about his school's emphasis and what does he say contradicts the school's sensitivity?

9. Why is the receptionist at the school surprised to see Gunnar and what does she tell him about his aptitude testing?

10. What does Wolfgang Kaufman do in Nashville and why does he move to Chicago? What does he do in Chicago?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

There are a number of interesting questions raised by The White Boy Shuffle. Questions that Beatty most likely want readers to consider and think through carefully. Discuss the following:

1. What does the term "author agenda" mean?

2. Name one idea/concept you think may have been a part of the Beatty's agenda. Analyze that idea throughout the book and discuss Beatty's probable agenda concerning that idea.

2. Do you think writers who have an agenda for writing should point it out in a preface?

3. How often do you think fiction is written with a clear agenda in mind by the author?

4. Research the life of Paul Beatty and see if/where his life may have influenced his writing.

Essay Topic 2

Titles often play a vital role in making a person decide to read a particular book. Discuss the following:

1. Fully explain why you think The White Boy Shuffle is titled as such. Do you think it is the best title for the book? Why or why not? Can you think of a better title? Why would you choose it?

2. How important is a title in influencing you to consider reading a book? Explain your answer.

3. Do you think a title needs to have direct relevance to a book's content? Explain your answer.

4. Have you ever read a book that when you finished, you do not understand the relevance of the title? Does it discourage you from "trusting" that particular author again?

Essay Topic 3

The White Boy Shuffle could be said to be a "bildungsroman" of Esi. Discuss the following:

1. Define the concepts "bildungsroman" and "coming of age."

2. Thoroughly trace and analyze The White Boy Shuffle as a bildungsroman of Gunnar. Give specific examples. What does Gunnar learn? How has he changed? Is the change for the better?

3. Thoroughly trace and analyze The White Boy Shuffle as a black power story. Give specific examples. What does Gunnar learn? What does Nick learn? What would blacks say about Gunnar's actions?

(see the answer keys)

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