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. Who is Howard's father?

2. How old is Phillip when he first meets Clara?

3. What people are responsible for helping Phillip leave Memphis to move to New York?

4. What does Mr. Carver represent to Alex?

5. How long after the move to Memphis do Betsy and her beau break off their relationship?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. In Chapter 4, Alex also meets Mr. Carver. Where do the two meet, and what brings them together? How does their relationship grow during the course of the chapter?

3. 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?

4. Of all the Carver children, the least is said about Georgie. In Chapter 4, what information is revealed about Georgie? How would one describe Georgie and who he is in the Carver family?

5. Phillip visits Alex in Paris during the war in Chapter 5. Describe their time together in Paris. What happens to them on the Rue de Rivoli one afternoon?

6. In Chapter 3, Phillip describes how Betsy and Josephine settle into their lives in Memphis after their failed engagements. He speaks with some pride about their accomplishments. What are those accomplishments? What type of life have Betsy and Josephine made for themselves in Memphis?

7. 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?

8. 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?

9. In Chapter 2, Phillip recalls a conversation between his mother and a friend of hers from Nashville. In their conversation, the woman declares "you, my dear Minta, will love Memphis." Does Phillip's mother love Memphis? How does she adjust to her new home?

10. When Phillip describes Memphis in Chapter 2, he paints detailed pictures of the city of his adolescence and the one he encounters during his adult visits home. He also compares Memphis to Nashville. How has the city of Memphis changed in Phillip's opinion? How do the two cities still differ?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Georgie Carver, the eldest son in the novel, is dead throughout much of the story. Who was Georgie? What do you know about his relationship members of his family? Is Georgie an important character in the novel?

Essay Topic 2

Phillip's long term relationship with Holly Kaplan is the only successful love relationship the adult Carver siblings have. Why do you think this is? How does his father's influence in his romance with Clara Price compare to that of his of Betsy and Josephine's? Why has Phillip's father not meddled in the relationship between Holly and Phillip?

Essay Topic 3

In many novels, dialogue drives the action. In A Summons To Memphis, there is no dialogue in the traditional sense; the book is written in a narrative style. Why do you think the author has chosen to write in narrative style? Are there any characters in the book you would find easier to understand if you were to read his/her words as dialogue?

(see the answer keys)

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