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 expression do Betsy and Josephine use repeatedly to describe their father's dancing?

2. What is the name of Phillip's school in Nashville?

3. Where does George Carver attend college?

4. How does Georgie explain to his father that he is leaving for military duty?

5. What is the name of the street on which the family first lives in Memphis?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. In Chapter 6, Betsy describes one evening at the Blue Moon when Mr. Carver arrives with a group of six people all of whom are much younger than he. What happens that evening to Mr. Carver?

3. During a conversation with his mother in Chapter 2, Phillip begins to explain how the move to Memphis has ruined his life. His mother laughs at him. How does this affect Phillip and why? How does he compare his mother before and after Memphis?

4. In Chapter 2, Phillip tells of the end of Betsy and Wyant's relationship. What incident causes the beginning of the end of the relationship? How does Betsy react to her father? How does Wyant react? What is father's objection and how does he present this to Betsy?

5. 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?

6. In Chapter 6, Phillip describes many of the differences between himself and Alex as adult men. He then notes the differences. What is the primary difference between Alex and Phillip as Phillip sees it?

7. In Chapter 2, Phillip relates the story of his sister Joesphine's experience with her serious beau, Clarkson Manning. What happens to to their relationship? What does Manning inadvertently do that changes the relationship between the two? How does Father react to Manning?

8. In Chapter 4, Phillip speaks of two important relationships in the novel. One is the friendship between Phillip and Alex. The other is the friendship between Alex and Mr. Carver. Father and son are not particularly close, but each are close to Alex. In this chapter, how does this triangle of friendship begin to display itself?

9. 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?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the opening of the novel, Phillip speaks of the danger of middle aged children interfering with their widowed fathers' dating. How does this theme manifest itself in the novel? Discuss the ironic twist on this theme that becomes a central thread of the novel.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Phillip flies home from New York and from the plane, can see his father waving to him. Describe the scene at the airport, and compare this to the later scene in front of the church. How does Phillip react to his father in these scenes?

(see the answer keys)

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