Pale Rider reading questions

Reading questions for Pale Rider by Laura Spinney:

Table of contents:
Set 1 – extra credit questions for the intro and chapter 1
Set 2 – extra credit questions for chapters 2-4
Set 3 – questions for chapters 5-7
Set 4 – questions for chapter 8
Set 5 – questions for chapters 9-11
Set 6 – questions for chapters 12-14
Set 7 – questions for chapters 15-21
I do not plan on adding additional sets, since the history part of the book ends at chapter 21.


EXTRA CREDIT question set 1 – Introduction and Chapter 1
TURN IN TO TURNITIN.COM by Wednesday 3/4 at 11:05 PM

As always, read the questions BEFORE you do the reading, so you know for what you are looking.

1. Considering the excerpt below, what is Mr. Ranger trying to say? Explain in your own words what he is trying to say. Does what he is talking about strike you as similar or different to the way you have normally been taught history? Explain.

chpt 1 q1
2. Considering the excerpt below, explain how the man considered to be the inventor of medicine as we know it, Greek philosopher Hippocrates, affected your life.

chpt 1 q2

3. Considering the excerpt below, do you want to know history? The argument is that the study of the past can prepare us for the present and allow us to anticipate the future. Does that matter to you enough to study history? Would you rather just float through events, going with the flow (Daoist-style)? Do old diseases such as the 2,400 year old ‘Cough of Perinthus’ and the Spanish Flu strike you as interesting enough to actually read a 360 page about? Explain.

chpt 1 q3

4. Considering the excerpt below, do you feel like things have changed since Epicurus wrote his depressing (or maybe just realistic) little bit on us all living in an “unwalled city”? Do you feel like medicine and the knowledge pioneered by Hipocrates changes the rule Epicurus laid out? Or are we all still in the same 2,300 unwalled city? Explain.

chpt 1 q4

5. If you did buy the book, summarize the way that pigs, ducks, and densely packed humans living in cities come together to create the universe in which the flue lives. How does the flu require three different species to have continued to exist for thousands of years?

 


EXTRA CREDIT question set 2 – Chapters 2 through 4
TURN IN TO TURNITIN.COM by Monday 3/9 at 11:05 PM

Since this is extra credit, and you cannot lose points, do as much or as little as appeals to you.

As always, read the questions BEFORE you do the reading, so you know for what you are looking.

From Chapter 2

1. In what ways did the scientific/medical advances of the period from 1850 through 1920 irrevocably change the experience of human life? In what ways would your understanding of health and death have been different had you lived before 1850?

2. Why was the existence of the flu virus (and all viruses) more of a well-trusted hypothesis than a provable fact in the period covered in this chapter? Does it surprise you that human medical knowledge was so incomplete one hundred years ago?

From Chapter 3

3. What are the three possible places that the Spanish Flu started? What is the basic argument for it having started in each place?

4. In what way did World War I exacerbate (make worse) the worldwide spread and effect of the Spanish Flu?

From Chapter 4

5. This is clearly the “horror show” chapter. The author did of course have to include this chapter, and it certainly was intended to cement the interest of more casual readers who might have been getting bored. Do you think the author overdid it? Explain.

6. What does the section about “LOVE IN THE TIME OF FLU” tell you about how strangely people might behave in times of panic when the power of the authorities breaks down? Do people become monsters, or do they behave otherwise?

 


Some kind of credit question set 3 – Chapters 5 through 7
TURN IN TO TURNITIN.COM by, you know, whenevs.

I’m not sure how I’m going to use this. It won’t hurt your grade if you do it. I’ll figure out some reasonably legit way to make it actually help if you do good work.

As always, read the questions BEFORE you do the reading, so you know for what you are looking.

From Chapter 5

1. Consider the following section when answering this question. I’ve heard Coronavirus, Wuhan Virus (creepy bigotted implications there), and Covid-19. Most often. I occasionally read SARS-CoV-2. The least accurate name is Coronavirus, since that’s a general term for the family of viruses. Do you think US society will actually shift to one of the more official names eventually, or will we just eventually all give up and go with Coronavirus? Does it matter?

chpt 5 q1

2. A follow-up naming question. History is full of periods or events where the name just seems a bit off. My example would be the very generic “Westward Expansion” name for the period when the US slammed into Native American communities, stole their land, murdered many, and forced as many as humanly possible onto reservations. The name isn’t wrong, but it doesn’t capture the reality.
Provide an example of your own where the name of an event or period doesn’t quite match the history it encapsulates (puts into a single story).

3. There were a lot of names for the Spanish Flu as described in this chapter. Which is your favorite? Which seems most accurate? Why?

From Chapter 6
1. Why were doctors so much more incapable of doing testing for the Spanish Flu than we are for Covid-19?

2. What is the difference between an epidemic disease and an endemic disease? [not in the text – look it up] Which is Covid-19? Why so?

3. Despite a severe lack of resources; communications; and access to science-based medical training, China did well with epidemic (or is it endemic) diseases. How did they do it?

From Chapter 7

1. Consider the following section when answering this question. We humans are far more educated scientifically than people were back in 1918 or in the 1340s. Yet even today Covid-19 is plagued by weird magical beliefs. Give a modern-day Covid-19 example from your life; the internet; or wherever of magical or prophetic thinking existing despite the fact that we should know better. Explain.

chpt 7 q1

2. In 1918 the term “sanitary dictatorship” was used to describe how governments (national and local) followed the direction of the medical community to put in place extreme restrictions on the populace. Many nations today are doing things that could clearly be described as “sanity dictatorship.” Is this a good thing, a bad thing, or something else.

3. This chapter clearly sees the Bishop of Zamora as something close to a bad guy. Was he? Did the role of religion in this chapter surprise you? How so?

 


Some kind of credit question set 4 – Chapters 8 only
TURN IN TO TURNITIN.COM by you know, whenevs.

I’m not sure how I’m going to use this. It won’t hurt your grade if you do it. I’ll figure out some reasonably legit way to make it actually help if you do good work.

As always, read the questions BEFORE you do the reading, so you know for what you are looking.

From Chapter 8

1. Consider the following section when answering this question. Well, we are now all in the gentle version of quarantine: “social distancing.” Does it make you feel any better that quarantine is an old human practice and that you are presently practicing an ancient tradition? Explain.

chpt 8 q1

2. Venice was the great trade city of the late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance period. In what ways does it make sense that they are the originators of our modern word “quarantine?”

3. Consider the following section when answering this question. Given what you have learned from the news, how are we presently doing with the three things Spinney (the author) says are necessary for disease containment?

chpt 8 q3

4. Consider the following section when answering this question. There is a graphic floating ubiquitously around the internet that shows this exact concept. Find a version of it and copy it into your answer for this question. Your answer will be a graph you grab from the web.

chpt 8 q4

5. One of the surprising things in this excellent chapter is that the schools did not close during the Spanish Flu. I’m not saying we should have stayed open here in Seattle. I do think closing for a time was the correct practice. But how could one use this chapter to argue that the schools should have stayed open. Provide a quote or two that someone wanting evidence for staying open would use. Your answer can just be a pair or more of quotes.
Use the following frames in your answer:
Spinney writes, “INSERT QUOTE HERE.”
“INSERT QUOTE HERE,” according to Spinney.

6. What does the part about the Corriere della Sera tell us about the effect on the populace about the constant news reports about cases, deaths, and spread graphs? Do you agree that this point is true?

7. The section “THE ILLNESS OF THE WINDS” is about the effect on Persia (Iran today) of the Spanish Flu. Look at a contemporary news story about the effect of Covid-19 on Iran. Make a TT-chart showing similarities and differences between the two events. You are welcome to do it on paper and insert a picture of your work into the document you upload to turnitin.com. Alternately, you can learn how to make a table using whatever word process you are using.

chpt 8 q6


 

Some kind of credit question set 5 – Chapters 9 through 11
TURN IN TO TURNITIN.COM by you know, whenevs.

I’m not sure how I’m going to use this. It won’t hurt your grade if you do it. I’ll figure out some reasonably legit way to make it actually help if you do good work.

As always, read the questions BEFORE you do the reading, so you know for what you are looking.

No questions from Chapter 9

#. nothing, nada, zilch

From Chapter 10

1. Consider the following section when answering this question. Spinney has a knack for excellent intro paragraphs to her chapters. Although there is no single “thesis statement” in this paragraph, she is clearly laying out the argument the rest of the chapter will make. In your own words, what is she about to prove in this paragraph.

2. Question refers to the above section. Had we read this in November of 2019, before Covid-19, the second part of the paragraph would likely have been more convincing than the first. I anyway really feel the first half of the paragraph in a way I don’t think I would have before. Do you think that Spinney’s argument will prove correct about how people will behave under the thread of Covid-19 in the coming months (written 3/15/2020)? Explain.

3. What does the part about the Carnival in Rio and the behavior of people in Rio de Janeiro during the flu tell you about how some humans behave in time of plague? [There are many things to mention here.]

4. Summarize the effect of the Spanish Flu on the Native American communities in the area around Bristol Bay, Alaska. [Summary: covering the main points briefly]

From Chapter 11

1. Who was Wu Lien-teh and what was his role during the 1910 Bubonic Plague and Spanish Flu outbreaks?

2. What are the arguments in favor of the three possible locations of “patient zero?” [Shanxi/Shansi – Étaples – Camp Funston]

3. What was the role of Chinese men in WWI? How might racial bigotry have played a role in the spread of the Spanish Flu?

4. Consider the following two maps when answering this question. What are the similarities and differences between the Spanish Flu and the NextStrain Covid-19 map published on March 12, 2020? Assuming the present follows the patterns of the past, how is a September map of Covid-19 spread likely to be different from the NextStrain one below?

Spanish Flu spread 2nd wave
Covid-19 Spread – March 12, 2020

Covid-19 spread 20200315

Source: NextStrain – 3/12/2020

5. Speaking of NextStrain… Their website is fascinating. 100 years ago such real-time data tracking was completely impossible to even imagine. Does the existence of this sort of data make you feel better about how we will deal with Covid-19 versus how they dealt with the Spanish Flu back in 1918-1920?

6. Speaking of NextStrain… Data is beautiful, right? Play around with the settings and buttons. Summarize what data that site does make available.


Some kind of credit question set 6 – Chapters 12 through 14
TURN IN TO TURNITIN.COM by, you know, whenevs.

I’m not sure how I’m going to use this. It won’t hurt your grade if you do it. I’ll figure out some reasonably legit way to make it actually help if you do good work.

As always, read the questions BEFORE you do the reading, so you know for what you are looking.

From Chapter 12

1. What are the problems facing attempts to determine how many people died in the Spanish flu? [a list is fine]

From Chapter 13

1. Explain what Spinney means when she writes that, “Dujarric was right for the wrong reasons.” How could René Dujarric have been so wrong about the flu being blood born when he did actually contract the flu soon after injecting himself? Provide one quote from the chapter to prove your answer.

2. How much different is the medicine practiced by doctors today from the medicine practiced back in the time of the Spanish Flu. Provide two quotes from the chapter to back up your response.

3. How have eggs and a ferret played an important role in understanding the flu virus and it’s vaccines?

4. Explain in your own words what H1N1 means.

From Chapter 14

1. Spinney presents an interesting thesis that says that the new flus such as the Spanish Flu may have been caused by the rise of the automotive transportation (cars and trucks) and the decline in the use of horses. Explain her point.


 

Some kind of credit question set 7 – Chapters 15 through 21
TURN IN TO TURNITIN.COM by you know, whenevs.

I’m not sure how I’m going to use this. It won’t hurt your grade if you do it. I’ll figure out some reasonably legit way to make it actually help if you do good work.

As always, read the questions BEFORE you do the reading, so you know for what you are looking.

From Chapter 15

1. How does Spinner explain the remarkable inequality of Spanish Flu mortality outcomes between countries and continents? What caused some countries to do well and some to do poorly.

2. How did doctors and eugenicists explain the higher mortality of ethic groups such as Italians and Indians (not Native Americans)? What really led to those higher mortality rates?

3. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic there were racist acts against Chinese people here and there. The first businesses to see real drops in Seattle were in the International District (Chinatown-ish). President Trump continues to call COVID-19 the “China Virus.” Are we much different from the people of the 1920s in turning to old prejudices to explain new events? Explain.

4. Why were the miners at South Africa’s Rand gold mines affected more severely by the Spanish flu than were the miners in South Africa’s Kimberley diamond mines?

5. COVID-19 is worst for people with underlying medical conditions. What was the most common equivalent problem during the Spanish Flu?

From Chapter 16

No questions for chapter 16

From Chapter 17

1. What percentage of the human population caught the Spanish flu, according to Spinner?

2. How did the Spanish Flu affect Donald Trump’s family?

From Chapter 18

No questions for chapter 18

From Chapter 19

1. In what ways did the Spanish Flu affect national healthcare systems in Europe and in the United States? How did the way healthcare was delivered change as a result of the Flu?

2. The World Health Organization (WHO) was the second version of a world-wide health organization. It is presently at the forefront of battling COVID-19. How is the WHO different from the one built in the 1920s, which was created as a result of the Spanish Flu?

From Chapter 20

1. In what way did the Spanish Flu’s affect the end of WWI?

2. In what ways did the Spanish Flu’s help to start the wave of anti-colonial struggles that eventual led to the wave of successful colonial independence movement of the 1950s and 1960s? Provide at least two examples from the chapter.

3. In a strange way, the Spanish Flu helped Mahatma Gandhi become the man we know. How is this so?

From Chapter 21

No questions for chapter 21.

 

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