When Breath Becomes Air Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Paul Kalanithi
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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 was the gestational age of the twins that died during Paul's assignment in the ob-gyn section of the hospital?

2. What color were the rocks in the desert near where Paul lived when he was a teenager?

3. In Part 1, Section 3, how many patients were on a list the outgoing intern gave Paul?

4. When did Abraham Verghese get to know Paul?

5. Where did Paul begin his residency in Part 1, Section 3?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Abraham Verghese say that his foreword should have been an afterward?

2. What was wrong with Matthew, an eight-year-old, in Part 1, Section 3 and how successful was treatment?

3. How were bodies provided for medical school in the past?

4. Why wasn't technical excellence enough as Paul treated patients during his residency in Part 1, Section 3?

5. How did Paul view language at the beginning of Part 1, Section 2?

6. Why did Paul study literature and philosophy and also neuroscience?

7. What hours did residents work according to Paul in Part 1, Section 3?

8. How did Paul feel when he made a trip to New York in the Prologue?

9. What were some of the first symptoms Paul had experienced?

10. Who was Shep Nuland?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Paul commented that terminal illness should have been the perfect gift for someone who wanted to understand death. Why should his illness have been a gift for Paul, and why was it so difficult for him to understand and live through his diagnosis of a terminal illness?

Essay Topic 2

Paul felt that he lost the ability to chose the path his life was taking. Why did Paul feel after his illness that he no longer could choose his own path? How did he cope with that realization and how did he view the path his life was taking at that point in time?

Essay Topic 3

The title of the book was "When Breath Becomes Air." What does that title mean and how did Paul's breath become air?

(see the answer keys)

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