Below are the book review questions for Dr. Reynolds's history classes. Your reviews, which must be typed, are due by the date listed on your course syllabus. The easiest way to prceed is to cut and paste the questions into your emai to Dr. Reynolds. Answe each question as bes you can. here is no specific length required for any question. For more information about the grading of the questions, see the syllabus for your class at www.bradleyreynolds.weebly.com. QUESTIONS FOR THE JUNGLE
1. To what does the title of the book refer?
2. What is the main point(s) of the book? Why did the author write it? Did the author achieve his objective?
3. When was the book written? Is that relevant in thiscase?
4. What do you know about the life of the author that would have led him to write The Jungle?
5. How well does The Jungle reflect political, urban, business and immigrant life in America in the early twentieth century? Do you think it is an accurate reflection? Why or why not?
6. What were the problems immigrants faced at the turn of the twentieth century? Are those problems still evident? How or how not is that the case? That is, what has changed or not changed in the last hundred years for immigrants?
7. What does the book say about socialism versus capitalism? What are Sinclair’s greatest criticisms of capitalism? Do you find Sinclair’s points valid? Why or why not? (Consider this in both the context of the past and the present.) If things were so bad for immigrants, why didn’t socialism spread more in America in the early twentieth century?
8. What did you like most and least about the book?
9. What was the most important and/or interesting thing(s) you learned from reading the book?
10. Are there any other comments you would like to make that were not addressed above?
QUESTIONS FOR GRAPES OF WRATH
1. Who was John Steinbeck? Why did he write his book? What was there in the author’s background or the time period of the book’s writing that might have led him to write the book?
2. What were the main points Steinbeck wanted to make? Did he achieve his objective(s)?
3. What is the time period of the book’s action?
4. What were the attractions of California? Are there any parallels today?
5. What was the opposition to the Okies? Was any of it valid?
6. When was the book written? Why is that relevant?
7. To what does the title of the book refer?
8. What were some of the reasons that farmers in the Midwest were having problems in the book? Are those problems still present? Explain why or why not.
9. How well did the book expose what some would call the social ills of the nation?
10. Do you think the book is an accurate reflection of America at that time? Why or why not?
11. What have been some of the racial criticisms of Steinbeck? Why?
12. What does the book say about the state of socialism or communism in America at that time? What are the author’s greatest criticisms of capitalism? Are they valid? Explain.
13. If the author’s points are valid regarding problems depicted in the book, then why wasn’t there more violent uprisings?
14. Do you think Steinbeck supported or rejected the New Deal? Explain.
15. How did the philosophy of Jim Casy, who some critics say embodied the ideas of Steinbeck more than any other character, fit the philosophy of the New Deal?
16. What did you like most and least about the book?
17. What was the most important and/or interesting thing(s) you learned from reading the book?
18. Why did some Americans not like the book?
19. What sources did the author use to make his points?
20. Are there any points you would have liked to see developed more in the book?
21. Would you recommend this book to others? Why or why not?
22. Are there any other points you would like to make that were not addressed above?
QUESTIONS FOR IN RETROSPECT
1. Who was Robert McNamara? Why did he write his book?
2. What are topics covered in the book? What is the book’s time period? Why?
3. What were the arguments for staying in Vietnam during the 1950s and ‘60s?
4. What does McNamara say are the false assumptions the U.S. had about the Vietnam War in the early and mid 1960s?
5. Why did the U.S. escalate the war in the mid 1960s?
6. What does McNamara say were some of the basic questions we failed to ask and answer before committing U.S. forces in Vietnam?
7. Why does McNamara feel that a greater U.S. military effort in Vietnam would have been disastrous?
8. Are there any lessons from the Vietnam War that might have significance for America’s current policy in Iraq and Afghanistan?
9. What did you learn about the making of U.S. foreign policy from reading this book?
10. What is the most important thing you learned from the book?
11. Did you like the book? Why or why not?
12. What sources did the author use to make his points?
13. Does the author achieve what he set out to do?
14. Are there any points you would have liked to see developed ore in the book?
15. Would you recommend this book to others? Why or why not?
16. Are there any other comments you would like to make that were not addressed above?
QUESTIONS FOR THE KITE RUNNER
1. What is the time frame and location of the book?
2. What did you learn about the history of Afghanistan from reading the book?
3. What did you learn about the Cold War?
4. What did you learn about the immigrant experience from reading the book? Did it support or change your views about immigrants?
5. What part of the book was the most memorable or meaningful to you?
6. Farid (Amir’s driver) tells Amir that Amir has always been a tourist in Afghanistan – he just didn’t know it (page 323). Do you agree or not? Why? Do you think it’s true for you in your country?
7. What did you learn about Afghanistan and the Middle East from reading this novel?
8. What did it mean to be an American in the novel? Consider the views of at least Baba, Amir, and General Taheri.
9. Were you surprised to read about the racial tension between the Pashtuns and Hazaras? Why do you think the oppression existed? Does it have parallels in America?
10. Did the end of the book express hope for the future? Why or why not?
11. How did the book get its title? Who was the kite runner?
12. What did you like most and least about the book?
13. Why did Baba like Ronald Reagan? Why do you think the neighbors disliked the president?
14. Who are the Taliban and how are they portrayed in the book? Do you think the portrayal is accurate?
15. What do you know about the background of the author? What do you think might be his agenda for writing the book?
16. The book talks a lot about courage. Cite some examples of how courage was displayed Who do you think was the most courageous character?
17. With which character did you feel the greatest attachment? Why?
QUESTIONS FOR HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET
1. What are some of the differences between the American and Chinese cultures described in Seattle in circa 1940?
2. In what ways did Henry's father want Henry to Americanize and in what ways did he demonstrate his desire that Henry retain ties to his ethnic heritage?
3. Do you feel Henry should have forgiven his father for what happened to the letters? Why or why not?
4. What is the message of Henry's "I Am Chinese" button? How did the significance of the button change over time?
5. Why did Henry provide inaccurate information when he translated the business negotiations between his father and Mr. Preston? Was Henry wrong to betray his father's trust?
6. The United States is a nation of immigrants. In what ways do the families of Keiko and Henry illustrate different aspects of the American immigrant experience?
7. What is the bond between Henry and Sheldon, and how is it strengthened by jazz music?
8. What did you learn about the similarities of racism in the South and the northern city of Seattle in the 1940s? Did it surprise you? Why or why not?
9. Henry's mother comes from a culture in which wives are subservient to their husbands. Given this background, do you think she could have done more to help Henry in his struggles against his father? Is her loyalty to her husband a betrayal of her son?
10. How was Henry's relationship with Keiko the same or different from Marty's relationship with Samantha?
11. Give some examples from the novel of how love was forbidden as a result of cultural boundaries.
12. What struggles did your own ancestors have as immigrants? What aspects of their former culture do you still practice and/or how have they incorporated aspects of their past culture into their identity as Americans?
13. Did Henry give up on Keiko too easily? Could he and should he have done more to find her?
14. Why do you think Keiko did not spend more time trying to find Henry after she left the camp?
15. What did the interment of Japanese-Americans take place? Was it justified? Take both sides.
16. Do you think Ethel knew what was happening with Henry's letters?
17. What are some of the sacrifices that the main characters make to achieve their dreams or to help the dreams of others? Did each character do more or less than you think they should have done?
18. Why didn't the people of Japanese ancestry who were rounded up protest more actively about losing their property and liberty? Would you have? Why or why not?
19. Do you think that something like happened with the internment in 1942 could happen again? Why or why not?
20. What did the US government do in the 1980s to make up for the internment of 1942? Do you agree with what the government did? Why or why not?
21. What was your overall impression of the book? Did you like it? Why or why not? Do you think it has value as an instrument for learning American history?
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