The Country of the Pointed Firs Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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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 does the narrator react to the Captain's story?

2. Under which pretense does Mrs. Todd come to the schoolhouse to visit the narrator?

3. What distracts the narrator from her work later in the day after the funeral procession?

4. How does the narrator characterize Captain Littlepage's reaction to Gaffett's story?

5. How old is Mrs. Blackett?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the contrast of changing moods that occurs on the journey to the Bowden family reunion.

2. Explain Mrs. Todd's perspective on what the others have said about Sant Bowden.

3. Describe William's relationship to the island.

4. Describe Joanna's island as the narrator sees it.

5. What generational differences are revealed when the family reunion comes to an end?

6. Choose one character and describe his or her significance to the story.

7. The novel uses a series of stories to describe life in this little town. Choose one of these stories told by the characters, paraphrase it briefly, and explain its significance.

8. Describe the going-away gift Mrs. Todd leaves for the narrator and its meaning.

9. Using all of the information given in the story, describe how the townspeople feel about Joanna.

10. Describe Mrs. Blackett's attitude towards life.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

During her visit to Elijah's Tilley's home, the narrator says, "the old widower sat with his head bowed over his knitting, as if he were hastily shortening the very thread of time." How does this quote relate in general to Elijah and the novel's theme of impermanence?

Essay Topic 2

When first meeting Captain Littlepage at the beginning of Chapter 5, the narrator states: "...Mrs. Todd had told me one day that Captain Littlepage had overset his mind with too much reading; she had also made dark reference to his having 'spells' of some unexplainable nature." How did her conversation with him confirm or contradict this view? Support your claims with concrete examples from the book.

Essay Topic 3

Drawing on what the reader learns from Mrs. Todd's conversation with the narrator in the pennyroyal patch on Green Island, describe the complexity of Mrs. Todd's relationship to her late husband.

(see the answer keys)

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