A Summons to Memphis Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Peter Taylor
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What other places does Mr. Carver frequent?

2. What is the consequence for Mr. Carver's mistake that night which is witnessed by Betsy and Joesphine?

3. What is Alex's wife's name?

4. How does Georgie die?

5. While in high school, what does Phillip begin collecting?

Short Essay Questions

1. Phillip is in New York in Chapter 3 and receiving letters from Alex, Betsy and Josephine about Mr. Carver. How does Phillip react to his father's dating? How does he respond to his sisters' treatment of Mr. Carver both in public and private? Why does he take the position he does? How does he respond to Alex's concerns?

2. In Chapter 1, Phillip begins to explain the story of his family and their move from Nashville in 1931. What does he think is important for the reader to know in order for the story to make sense? Where does he begin the story? What does he tell us about the people whose conflict made the family's move necessary?

3. In Chapter 3, Phillip paints a picture of his parents and his two sisters living in Memphis and their conversations about dating and the men they are both seeing. How does this appear to him when he is home visiting? How do Betsy and Josephine behave in front of their parents? What is the topic of conversation much of the time Phillip is visiting? How do the elderly Mr. and Mrs. Carver respond to their middle-aged daughters' banter?

4. In Chapter 4, Phillip describes meeting Alex Mercer. How does Phillip meet Alex and how does their friendship grow? What do each represent to the other?

5. In Chapter 5, Phillip tells the story of the pendant. What is the significance of four leaf clovers in the love affair between Clara and Phillip?

6. In Chapter 1, how do Mr. Carver's daughters initially handle his dating? How does this change when he begins seeing one woman exclusively?

7. In his letters to Phillip, Alex talks about Betsy and Josephine's involvement in the social scene in Memphis. In Chapter 3, Alex explains that the two women are rather considered a social institution in Memphis. But Alex also speaks at length about how the two women are the "laughing stock of the town." What does Alex mean by this? How does Phillip react to seeing his sisters when he visits?

8. In Chapter 3, Phillip talks at length about what his sisters have done for both himself and his brother, Georgie. What have they done for their brothers to help them in their lives? What have they potentially sacrificed by helping their brothers in this way? How do the two women continue to take care of their father after the boys leave home?

9. In Chapter 4, Phillip discusses Alex's concerns about Mr. Carver. Phillip listens, but thinks that Alex may not know his sisters as well as he thinks he does. What does Alex fear will happen to Mr. Carver and why? How does Phillip see the situation?

10. In Chapter 5, Phillip reminisces on his failed engagement. What happens between Phillip and Clara Price? Compare his experience with that of his sisters.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Phillip has four women in his life. In Chapter 3, he presents a picture of his two sisters, his mother, and his girlfriend, Holly. Holly stands out as notably different, even opposite, from the three women in his family. Compare and contrast these four women. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How do they relate to the men in their lives? What might Phillip find appealing about Holly?

Essay Topic 2

Phillip realizes his father did not consider how the move to Memphis would affect all members of the family. Was the move to Memphis the only thing to affect the Carvers? Was there another factor at play, one much more dramatic than the move, that actually changed the course of everyone's lives?

Essay Topic 3

In the beginning of the novel, Holly believes Phillip is obsessed with his family. As the novel continues, she changes her opinion. Phillip learns more about Holly's family, and it becomes evident that there is a strong similarity between Holly and Phillip. What is this mutual experience, and how does it better explain their relationship?

(see the answer keys)

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