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

2. What have these people chosen to do?

3. What truth does the thief say the public needs to learn?

4. What does Petra notice about her father the next day?

5. About what is Petra curious?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does Petra begin looking for, and does she find it at home?

3. What do Petra and Calder do additional study on and what does Petra learn about the woman in her dream?

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

5. Who did Calder used to spend his time with, and what does he do now?

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

7. What does Calder discover in Mrs. Sharpe's home?

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

9. What does the letter from Tommy say, and what is Calder's thoughts about the letter?

10. What is significant about M & M's?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze the theme of art appreciation in "Chasing Vermeer". Consider the following questions as you write: What characters are most concerned with growth? Why? What are some symbols of growth? Symbols of rigidity? What characters seem rigid?

2. Trace and analyze the theme of coincidences in life. What kinds of coincidences occur in "Chasing Vermeer"? Are any of the coincidences similar to those that occur in real life or do they seem to be narrative contrivances?

3. Trace and analyze the theme of education. What seems to be the opinion of the author about education? How is education presented in this book? What characters are involved in education? What theme about education is expressed?

Essay Topic 2

Choose one of the following to discuss:

1. Choose two significant symbols and trace and analyze their appearance in "Chasing Vermeer". Are these universal symbols? Would they be understood in any culture? Are there other symbols that would portray the same idea? What are they? Why do you think Balliett chooses the symbols he does?

2. Choose two important metaphors and trace and analyze their appearance in the novel. Are these universal metaphors? Would they be understood in any culture? Are there other metaphors that would portray the same idea? What are they? Why do you think Balliett chooses the metaphors she does?

3. Discuss Balliett's use (or lack ) of literary device (such as foreshadowing, cliffhangers, deux ex machina, etc.), and how they add or detract from the story. Does Balliett use too many or too little literary techniques? State which of the five major elements of fiction the literary device is related to (style, character, plot, setting, theme).

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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