Two-Part Critical Reading Exercise

Part One, in-class group quiz:
Having read "Salvation," by Langston Hughes, form a group with two or three of your colleagues (no singles, no pairs, no groups of more than four), and answer the questions below about the story. You may type your answers or write them very legibly by hand, but make sure that the name of each member of your group appears at the top of the group quiz. Turn the document in to me by placing it in my mailbox at the end of your class today. (Research scavenger hunt: Find the location of my mailbox from an online source.)

Follow the instructions on this assignment.

Write your answers in complete, grammatically correct sentences, even the definitions.  (One or two will suffice; you need not write lengthy paragraphs in response.)



Define the following terms as they are meant in the context of the essay.

1.  revival

2.  knickerbockered

3.  punctuated

4.  ecstatic


5. In what calendar year did this event in Langston's life take place?

6.  Is the thesis of the essay stated outright or implied?

7.  What is the thesis of the essay?

8.  How does Westley’s attitude differ from Langston’s?

9.  Why can’t Langston tell Auntie Reed the truth about his experience in the church?

10. The age at which this event happened to Langston is significant. In what sense can it be said that Hughes became a man that day?

Part Two, take-home quiz:
Outside of class, complete the critical reading exercise below, and be prepared to turn it in at the start of class on Monday 2/6/06.

ReadShooting an Elephant” by George Orwell

Write your answers in complete, grammatically correct sentences.  (One or two will suffice; you need not write lengthy paragraphs in response.)

“Shooting an Elephant”


Define the following words as they are meant in the context of the essay.

1.  petty

2.  imperialism

3.  cowed

4.  supplant

5.  prostrate

6.  despotic

7.  labyrinth

8.  conjurer

9.  tyrant

10.  senility

11.  pretext


12.  What paragraphs make up the introduction of the essay?  The body of the essay?  The conclusion?

13.  With what sentence does the narrative proper begin?

14.  What is the thesis statement of the essay?


15. In what year did the events in this story take place?

16. In paragraph two, Orwell writes a statement that is prophetic, given the year in which he composed this essay: "I did not even know that the British Empire is dying, still less did I know that it is a great deal better than the younger empires that are going to supplant it." What are "the younger empires" that Orwell referred to when he wrote that statement?

17. Why did the natives hate Orwell?

18.  Why did Orwell hate his job?

19.  Why did Orwell shoot the elephant?

20. Had you been in Orwell's shoes that day, would you have shot the elephant? Why or why not?

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