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. What does Petra start looking for in the world around her?

2. How does Petra respond to what she notices about her father?

3. What is art to Calder?

4. How does author say "Chasing Vemeer" is related to pentominoes?

5. What does Ms. Hussey drop off in front of Powell's?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who are Calder and Petra, and how do they differ?

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

3. Why does Calder think he and Petra should call The National Gallery?

4. What sort of books has Ms. Hussey chosen in Powell's Bookstore?

5. Where can the reader find the answers to the clues given in the art work?

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

7. What does Charles Fort believe people do?

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

9. What do Petra and Calder learn about the Lady and what do they decide to do?

10. What does the author challenge the reader to do concerning the artwork and why?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Many readers of fiction place themselves in the position of one character, wondering if they would do the same thing as that character. Discuss the following:

1. Do you think one of the values of literature is to serve as a reflection of oneself? Why or why not?

2. Socrates said "Know thyself." How can reading a book such as "Chasing Vermeer" help a reader to know him/herself? Do you find yourself reflecting on your own character and abilities when reading Chasing Vermeer? Why or why not.

3. Choose one specific incident in "Chasing Vermeer" to discuss and compare one of the characters' response to how you think you would respond.

Essay Topic 2

Often, authors will write about "what they know," and sometimes knowing a little about the author makes the books more interesting. Discuss the following:

1. Research and give a brief biographical sketch of Blue Balliett.

2. What in Balliett's background may have helped her in writing Chasing Vermeer? What may have influenced the way she depicts various characters and scenes?

3. Do you think there is always some of the author's own life in his/her novels? Why or why not? Give examples.

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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