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James Michener Trivia Quizzes

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James Michener's sprawling sagas have formed the basis for musicals (such "South Pacific"), films (starting with "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" in 1954), a television series ("Adventures in PAradies" ran 1959-1962) and several miniseries (including "Centennial"). He was also a prolific write of non-fiction.
3 James Michener quizzes and 30 James Michener trivia questions.
  The Works of James A. Michener   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
How much do you know about the writings of Pulitzer Prize winning author, James A. Michener?
Average, 10 Qns, Eolena, Feb 12 07
366 plays
  A Michener Miscellany    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
I was a bit shocked to find so few quizzes about one of my favorite authors, James A. Michener. It's impossible to do this author justice in a single quiz, but here are some questions that might remind folks of a few of his high points.
Average, 10 Qns, havan_ironoak, Jul 14 19
Jul 14 19
169 plays
  "Chesapeake" by James A. Michener    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
"Chesapeake" was one of Michener's greatest novels. It is comprised of fictional characters who take part in actual historical events in the Chesapeake Bay area of the U.S. Good Luck.
Tough, 10 Qns, mdemma, Aug 14 10
154 plays

James Michener Trivia Questions

1. The first and last chapters of Michener's novel "The Source" are called "The Tell." So TELL me what profession the main characters of those chapters follow. Ya dig?

From Quiz
A Michener Miscellany

Answer: Archaeologists

"The Source", an historical 1965 novel by James A. Michener, uses the plot device of archaeologists digging through a "tell" as a framework for telling us stories about the history of the Jewish people. Each level they excavate leads to another story.

2. Why did Pentaquod leave his village in the opening of the first chapter?

From Quiz "Chesapeake" by James A. Michener

Answer: Tension arose between himself and the other villagers

Pentaquod was a member of a warrior tribe called the Susquehannocks. Pentaquod was peaceful by nature and did not believe in war. The other villagers felt that he was a threat to their way of living and wanted him executed. He escaped down the river and was welcomed into another tribe.

3. For which book did Michener win a Pulitzer Prize?

From Quiz The Works of James A. Michener

Answer: Tales of the South Pacific

Michener's first book, "Tales of the South Pacific", won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Based on his wartime experiences in the Solomon Islands during World War II, it was later adapted as the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, "South Pacific".

4. Chapter 7 of "The Source" is called "In the Gymnasium", and ends up with a character being killed. Why?

From Quiz A Michener Miscellany

Answer: for reversing his circumcision

"In the Gymnasium" deals with Jewish life under the Seleucid Empire, during which athletes competed naked, as in the Olympic games. The character in question, a gifted athlete, had the painful reversal procedure done to "fit in" with the other competitors, but his own people didn't take it well.

5. Why did Edmund Steed leave England to settle in the Chesapeake Bay area?

From Quiz "Chesapeake" by James A. Michener

Answer: Religious discrimination

Edmund Steed was a devout Catholic in England during the Protestant movement. He found himself being treated as a second class citizen because of this. He decided to move where he could honor his religion without being judged. He had joined Capt. John Smith in his exploration of the new world. During his travels he spotted an island that he would later return to and settle. He called this Devon Island, after one of his ancestors.

6. The 1974 novel "Centennial" was used as the basis for a popular twelve-part television miniseries, but even 12 hours doesn't cover as much ground as Michener usually does. In Chapter 3, "The Inhabitants," which inhabitant does Michener start with?

From Quiz A Michener Miscellany

Answer: a diplodocus dinosaur

Michener typically concentrates on a place starting in pre-history and adding layers of detail so that by the end the reader feels that he understands the characters' motivations because he knew their parents and grand grand parents. Likewise with the geography.

7. Why did Timothy Turlock leave England for the Chesapeake Bay area?

From Quiz "Chesapeake" by James A. Michener

Answer: He had trouble with the law

Timothy Turlock was a petty thief in England. He had been caught numerous times. The judge wanted to execute him, but because of protests from his mother and other community members he was sentenced to the new world as an indentured servant. After he was assigned a master, he clobbered him over the head and escaped. He settled in the marsh to avoid getting caught.

8. Which Michener book included these chapter titles: "The Golden Freedom", "Mazurka", and "Shattered Dreams"?

From Quiz The Works of James A. Michener

Answer: Poland

Published in 1983, "Poland" follows the stories of three fictional families--the Counts Lubonski, the Bukowskis, and the Buks--over the course of eight centuries. Chapters six, seven and eight are "The Golden Freedom," "Mazurka" and "Shattered Dreams".

9. One conceit of "Centennial" (published around the time of the country's bicentennial) is that it's set in the town of Centennial, "settled" during the country's 100th birthday. What state was this town in?

From Quiz A Michener Miscellany

Answer: Colorado

Centennial is a look at the American west, but also at Colorado from the dinosaur fossils found there, the trappers, the buffalo hunters, through the Sand Creek Massacre, through the rancher vs. sheepmen conflicts, up to the (then) present day (circa 1975).

10. What was Edward Paxmore's profession before shipbuilding?

From Quiz "Chesapeake" by James A. Michener

Answer: Carpentry

Edward Paxmore was a very loyal Quaker. He was also an indentured servant with one more year to complete his servitude. He had been beaten and kicked out of New England because of his strong beliefs. He settled on a cliff and named it Peace Cliff. The Steed family recognized his excellent carpentry skills and asked him to build a ship for them. This started the Paxmore family into shipbuilding.

11. Chapter 6 of "Centennial", "The Wagon and the Elephant", centers on Levi Zendt and his migration from Pennsylvania. Where was he originally headed?

From Quiz A Michener Miscellany

Answer: to Oregon

Michener uses this character to point out that many of those who began the trek on the "Oregon Trail" settled elsewhere along the way. Zendt was just a farmer looking for a decent place to farm.

12. Which Turlock was the great ship captain during the Revolutionary war?

From Quiz "Chesapeake" by James A. Michener

Answer: Teach

Teach Turlock was described as tall, lanky, and heavily bearded. He had a torn shirt, his pants were held up by a piece of rope, and he was always barefooted. He was named after the great pirate Edward Teach, who was also known as Blackbeard. He sailed the "Whisper", a ship financed by the Steeds and built by the Paxmores. His skill as a blockade runner enabled him to supply the American army with what was needed to win the war. He had become a hero to the patriots.

13. Michener's 1959 novel "Hawaii" starts with the formation of the islands, and chapter 2 sees the islands populated by Tahitian emigres. Chapter 3, "From the Farm of Bitterness", brings the Hales and the Whipples to the islands. From where?

From Quiz A Michener Miscellany

Answer: New England

Michener's character Reverend Abner Hale was based on real-life missionary Hiram Bingham. Missionaries from New England were instrumental in "civilizing" the indigenous people of Hawaii (and bringing diseases which killed a great many of them). Most of the original missionary families remained, and their descendants became the wealthy elite of the islands. There is an island saying that the "Missionaries came to Hawaii to do good, and they did very well indeed."

14. How did Matthew Turlock die?

From Quiz "Chesapeake" by James A. Michener

Answer: A slave uprising

Matthew Turlock became the captain of the "Ariel", after he lost the "Whisper". He eventually turned the "Ariel" into a slave ship. Cudjo was captured and chained aboard the "Ariel". Cudjo and the other slaves freed themselves from their chains and revolted. Matthew fought hard with his silver fist but was eventually overpowered by Cudjo and killed.

15. How long after Michener started living in Honolulu was his book "Hawaii" published?

From Quiz The Works of James A. Michener

Answer: 10 years

Michener established residency in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1949. After four years of preparation and three years of writing, the novel was published ten years later in 1959.

16. Much of the conflict in "Hawaii" comes from the clash between the missionaries and the native ruler of the Islands. Who might that be?

From Quiz A Michener Miscellany

Answer: the alii nui

Michener depicts Hawaii as a matriarchal society with the alii nui as the queen figure. The Kanaka ma'oli (ancient Hawaiian) had an extended family structure where the 'head of household' was the matriarch. The man was considered the authority in farming, fishing, hunting, and warring. But in all else the female ruled.

17. Why did the Steeds send Cudjo to the slavebreaker?

From Quiz "Chesapeake" by James A. Michener

Answer: He was reading

Cudjo came to America on a slave ship. As a slave he realized that the only way to succeed in the new world was to be able to read. Elizabeth Paxmore began teaching him how to read and write. He was caught with a book in his pants and sent to Herman Cline, the "slavebreaker". Cline broke the spirit of the slave with one year of humiliation and constant cruelty. Cudjo survived the year with Cline but never gave up his dream to read and write.

18. In which book does Michener use a series of "voyages" as a primary structural device?

From Quiz The Works of James A. Michener

Answer: Chesapeake

Every other chapter in "Chesapeake" is another voyage in another time. From "Voyage One: 1583" to "Voyage Fourteen: 1978" the book covers a panorama of history that encompasses the stories of American Indians, early settlers, Revolutionary War patriots, slave traders, and more.

19. In Michener's 1988 novel "Alaska", the novel starts with the collision of the tectonic plates; with what does it end?

From Quiz A Michener Miscellany

Answer: Alaska applying for statehood

Although Michener published "Alaska" in 1988, he never touched upon the Iditarod, which started in 1973 but which hadn't gained the notoriety it has now. The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in 1989, by which time the novel was already out. I've often wondered if he would have included it had it happened earlier.

20. Michener's first novel (the 1947 Pulitzer Prize winner) was actually a group of short stories that was later adapted into a musical. What was the novel called?

From Quiz A Michener Miscellany

Answer: Tales of the South Pacific

"Tales of the South Pacific", with music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein, became the musical "South Pacific" which covered much of, but certainly not all of, the material that Michener had in the book. If you liked the musical and ever wanted to know more about any of the characters, I highly recommend the book. At around 350 pages its's half the size of most Michener novels.

21. In the introduction of chapter 13, Amanda Paxmore went to pick up her husband Pusey from jail. What crime did Pusey commit?

From Quiz "Chesapeake" by James A. Michener

Answer: Involvement in the Watergate scandal

Pusey Paxmore was the son of Woolman Paxmore, a very spiritual leader. He was expected to follow in his fathers footsteps. When his uncle Isaac built a "flying boat", Pusey was sent to Washington to try to sell it to the navy. He had gotten very involved in politics and became an adviser to Richard M. Nixon. Pusey stood by Nixon during the Watergate scandal and was sentenced to two years in a minimum security prison.

22. What happened to Pusey Paxmore at the end of the book?

From Quiz "Chesapeake" by James A. Michener

Answer: He shot himself

Pusey had done two years in prison because of the Watergate scandal while Nixon was pardoned. This left him depressed and confused. He wrestled with this emotional distress but was unable to live with it. Pusey went hunting one day and turned the shotgun on himself.

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