Chasing Vermeer Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Blue Balliett
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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. How is Petra's family described?

2. What do Petra and Calder learn in Chapter Eleven?

3. What connections do Petra and Calder try to make?

4. From whom does Calder receive a letter?

5. What interrupts Calder in his writing?

Short Essay Questions

1. What do Calder and Petra learn about the Lady?

2. What is Ms. Hussey's assignment, and what is Calder's first response to the assignment?

3. What is the book "Lo!" about?

4. What about Petra's Halloween outfit is familiar to Calder and what shocks Petra about something she sees in a book about Vermeer?

5. How does Petra obtain the book called "Lo!"?

6. What is Ms. Hussey teaching her students, and where is she teaching?

7. What is given to three people on a warm, October night and what have the three chosen to do?

8. How do the students respond to the quote by Picasso, and who is especially intrigued by it?

9. What is Petra's father upset about and what is Petra's response?

10. What book do Calder and Petra study after school, and what do they wonder about the first owner of the book?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

There are a number of interesting questions raised by "Chasing Vermeer". Questions that Balliett most likely want readers to consider and think through carefully. Discuss the following:

1. What does the term "author agenda" mean?

2. Name one idea/concept you think may have been a part of the Balliett's agenda. Analyze that idea throughout the book and discuss Balliett's probable agenda concerning that idea.

2. Do you think writers who have an agenda for writing should point it out in a preface?

3. How often do you think fiction is written with a clear agenda in mind by the author?

4. Research the life of Balliett and see if/where her life may have influenced her writing.

Essay Topic 2

Calder plays with his pentominoes in his room; they help him think. He is contemplating the assignment given by Ms. Hussey. What is art? To him art is something puzzling. Calder researches Vermeer and notices that he uses the same objects in many of his paintings. He also wonders if there is any hidden information in his paintings.

1. Why do you think Calder might think art is puzzling? Use examples from "Chasing Vermeer" and your own life to support your answer.

2. It is logical that Vermeer might use the same objects in many of his paintings. Explain why this might be true. Use examples from "Chasing Vermeer" and your own life to support your answer.

3. What do think Calder means when he wonders if Vermeer's art has hidden information in it? Use examples from the book and your own life to support your answer.

Essay Topic 3

Many novels, and perhaps a majority, of novels ends on a happy note. Discuss the following:

1. Why do you think many (most?) people want what they perceive as a happy or good ending to a novel? Explain your opinion. Do you? Why or why not?

2. What are three reasons to read fiction? Discuss each one in light of "Chasing Vermeer" and whether or not it fulfills all three, two or one of the reasons you mention. Give examples as to why "Chasing Vermeer" is or is not successful in fulfilling the reasons you discuss.

3. Do you think reading solely for entertainment is as good a reason to read as any other? Why or why not? Can any work of fiction or non-fiction, no matter how poorly written, enlighten, teach, stimulate thought? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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