West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature

John Henry Quiz Answers


If you haven't taken the quiz yet, go back to John Henry Quiz.  The version on the Meet John Henry Activity page will calculate your score for you if it works on your computer.


1.     John Henry is what type of folk song?

b.     A Ballad Song

(It's also sometimes known as a work song or hammer song.)


2.     The lyrics are what part of the song?

a.     The words of the song


3.     Many ballads are sung unaccompanied. What does this mean?

b.     Sung without a musical background instrument


4.     What industry did John Henry work for?

c.     Railroad

(There are some other stories about characters named John Henry who have other jobs, such as dock worker.)


5.     “John Henry,” like other ballads, was passed down in an oral tradition. What does this mean?

a.     It was passed down to others by word of mouth

(And this popular ballad is often played or sung in concerts and on recordings today.)


6.     “John Henry,” like most ballads, was sung the same way ever time and told the truth exactly the way it happened.

b.     False

(Folk tales and songs from oral traditions often change as they are retold or sung, spreading around the country or the world in different versions.)

"John Henry"
a Ballad

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West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature is a self-contained teaching unit by Avis Caynor and Reneé Wyatt (1997), reprinted with permission in 2003 in the larger web site AppLit.

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Complete list of AppLit pages on folklore
AppLit Folktale Index page on John Henry