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. What does the Captain assert during the beginning of his conversation with the narrator in Chapter 5?

2. How would you characterize William's demeanor?

3. Who does the narrator compare Mrs. Fosdick to when describing her visits to others?

4. How does the narrator feel about Mrs. Fosdick once she meets her?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Elijah's feelings for his late wife.

2. How does narrator feel about Captain Littlepage's story?

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

4. Elijah Tilley's character provides a number of surprises for the narrator. What are they?

5. Describe William's relationship to the island.

6. Describe the connection Mrs. Todd draws between tansy and the human experience.

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

8. How does the narrator feel about Mrs. Todd's reaction to her leaving? How can you tell?

9. Describe the narrator's first meeting with Elijah Tilley.

10. Describe Mrs. Todd's personal characteristics.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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