When We Were Orphans 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. What is Lady Beaton's first reaction to Christopher's proposal that he adopt Jennifer?

2. Who does Uncle Philip say "is about as English as they come?"

3. What kind of person is the Banks's typical house guest in Shanghai?

4. What musical instrument does Uncle Philip encourage Christopher to go with him to see?

5. What kind of establishment is the Dorchester?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Christopher feel about Akira the summer prior to his friend's leaving for school in Nagasaki?

2. How is Christopher put in a difficult position when Uncle Philip suggests a trip to the racecourse?

3. How does Christopher spend his time in the summer of 1923?

4. Who is the plump-faced man in Christopher's newspaper photograph?

5. Describe the opium campaign meetings.

6. When Christopher finally sees Akira after Mr. Banks disappearance, how does Akira behave?

7. Describe Christopher's reunion with Colonel Chamberlain.

8. Describe the visit of the health inspector to Christopher's home in Shanghai.

9. How is Christopher's relationship with Mei Li transformed by his mother's abduction?

10. How does Uncle Philip set the stage for Christopher's mother's abduction?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Christopher's mother is one of the most prominent figures in his life both before and after her abduction. What qualities does Christopher inherit from his mother? How do these very qualities prevent him from giving up on finding her? How is Christopher's relationship with his mother transformed by her abduction? How is it transformed by her rescue?

Essay Topic 2

The motif of the outsider is featured in WHEN WE WERE ORPHANS. Choose three scenes from the novel where Ishiguro uses this motif to advance the plot and develop characters. How is this done?

Essay Topic 3

By the end of the novel the reader has traveled with Christopher backwards and forwards in time and from Shanghai to London and back. Starting at the earliest point in time, describe Christopher's journey? Make sure your account has a beginning, middle and end. Having put the story in chronological order, do you understand anything new about the novel?

(see the answer keys)

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