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 does Psycho Loco often ask Gunnar to do?

2. What do the children think will happen to them at the park?

3. What issue does Gunnar's elementary school take to absurd levels?

4. What position does Compton have in the Civil War?

5. With whom did Gunnar play in Santa Monica?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does Nick do to handle some of the attention directed at him and how does that affect Gunnar?

3. Why did Rolf go to a white high school and what happens to him in Vietnam?

4. 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?

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

6. What does Gunnar's elementary school emphasize?

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

8. What does Gunnar reveal himself to be in the Prologue and how does he feel about his role?

9. What is Swen Kaufman's life story, according to Gunnar's mother?

10. Who is Eileen Litmus, for what is she known at school and how does she affect Gunnar's life at school?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Choose one of the following to discuss:

1. Choose two significant symbols and trace and analyze their appearance in The White Boy Shuffle. Are these universal symbols? Would they be understood in any culture? Are there other symbols that would portray the same idea? What are they? Why do you think Beatty chooses the symbols he does? Do you think Beatty consciously decides upon the symbols to represent various elements of The White Boy Shuffle? Why or why not.

2. Choose two important metaphors and trace and analyze their appearance in The White Boy Shuffle. Are these universal metaphors? Would they be understood in any culture? Are there other metaphors that would portray the same idea? What are they? Why do you think Beatty chooses the metaphors he does?

3. Discuss Beatty's use (or lack ) of literary device (such as foreshadowing, clifthangers, deux ex machina, etc...), and how they add or detract from the story. Does Beatty use too many or too little literary techniques? State to which of the five major elements of fiction the literary device is related (style, character, plot, setting, theme).

Essay Topic 3

Oftentimes, a book has more of a character-driven plot rather than action driven, and oftentimes the other way. Some books seem to balance the two. Discuss the following:

1. What do you think it means to say that a plot is character driven? Action driven?

2. How do you think a plot differs if it is character driven versus action driven?

3. Which type of plot do you find more interesting? Why?

4. Do you think it is possible to have a plot where action and character development share equal time? Why or why not.

5. What type of plot do you think A Single Shard is? Explain your response.

(see the answer keys)

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