Soul of a Citizen: Sample Quiz

The following quiz was used in Writing and Research, a freshman composition class at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for students admitted through their Academic Opportunity program. Of course any of the study questions could also be turned into shorter or longer essay questions.


  1. "Learned helplessness" is the result of being taught to let others handle the problems that we see.
  2. Loeb’s "antidote" to powerlessness is becoming involved to create better social conditions.
  3. If you are a political conservative, Loeb says his book is probably not for you.
  4. Loeb says his main approach will be to give the reader a lot of facts and numbers to spur you to social action.
  5. Loeb believes that if we can’t find immediate solutions to the problems we see, then our efforts to solve them have been in vain.
  6. Loeb believes that one of the biggest reasons why people resist becoming involved in even the most urgent social problems is learned helplessness.
  7. Loeb argues that the impact of our actions often ripples outward in ways we can rarely anticipate.
  8. The main claim or thesis of Loeb’s book will be that our most serious problems can be solved only through common efforts.
  9. Loeb says that people have various reasons for never becoming involved in social issues.
  10. Loeb believes that taking a stand with others on issues we believe in helps us to grow psychologically and spiritually.
  11. Today the five thousand richest people on the planet control more wealth than the bottom three billion.
  12. Rosa Parks had never been involved in social activism before her famous act of refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person.
  13. Loeb uses the term "perfect standard" to describe some of the ideals that keep people from getting involved in social causes.
  14. Loeb believes that it’s best to address every facet of a social question, all at once, to understand it better before we act on it.
  15. Loeb believes that the ability to make a difference in our communities is innate and immutable, either part of our character or not.
  16. According to Loeb, social activism is as much a matter of learning how to listen, to constantly test our own assumptions and desires against the realities we encounter, and to be open-minded about our vision as it is of learning how to voice our beliefs.
  17. Loeb believes that personal troubles often have social and/or economic roots.
  18. Most of the examples of Chapter Three are meant to support the idea that even the most exceptional stories often begin with seemingly insignificant efforts.
  19. Loeb believes that cynicism keeps positive change from happening and often thrives in large, complex societies like ours where the effects of our actions are often unseen.
  20. Loeb argues that we have far more power than we know to influence the impersonal forces that create many of our society’s problems with crime, education, agriculture, ecology, poverty, and racism.
  21. Loeb points out that virtually all of America’s most effective historical movements met with repeated frustration and failure before making significant progress toward their goals.
  22. Loeb believes that single seemingly insignificant efforts can produce powerful results.
  23. Loeb points out that fighting for our deepest convictions requires relinquishing control and accepting messy uncertainties.
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