Ironweed Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

William Kennedy
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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. How does Francis describe Helen to Rudy?
(a) He says that he can’t wait to be finished with her.
(b) He says that he can never tell where she is.
(c) He says that she’s the best woman he’s ever known.
(d) He says that she never gives him any peace with her nagging.

2. Why does Francis work in the cemetery?
(a) To redeem his suitcase at a hotel.
(b) To make money to pay a lawyer.
(c) To get money for a place to stay.
(d) To get Helen out of jail.

3. Where is Clara when Francis and Helen arrive at Jack’s flat?
(a) On a chamber pot.
(b) In the bath.
(c) On the floor.
(d) In bed.

4. What does Helen say will happen to Francis if he leaves her on the street?
(a) She will die.
(b) He will be lost.
(c) He will freeze.
(d) He will forget her.

5. The narrator says that Francis was “staunchly resolute” in the face of what?
(a) Capricious and adverse fate.
(b) Suffering.
(c) A knife attack.
(d) The need to quit drinking.

Short Answer Questions

1. What day of the year does Ironweed start on?

2. What is Francis Phelan’s father’s reaction to Francis’ arrival?

3. What does Daddy Big say Francis’ son Billy did for him?

4. What does Rudy tell Francis the doctor diagnosed him with?

5. What knowledge does Francis say he and Rudy share?

Short Essay Questions

1. What state is Sandra in when Francis, Helen and Rudy and Pee Wee return from the Gilded Cage?

2. What is the message of the song Helen sings to Francis?

3. What does Francis say is the curve of Clara’s life?

4. How did Francis end up with a job shoveling dirt at the cemetery?

5. Where did Francis Phelan’s family lie in the pecking order of the cemetery?

6. What does Jack say Francis could have if he got straight, and what is Francis’ response?

7. What is the importance of Halloween in the book’s setting?

8. What kinship does Francis have with the Phelan brothers?

9. How does the narrator describe Gerald’s body in the grave?

10. When Helen says that she won’t go back to Finny’s car, she says that she might call her people. What is the irony in this?

(see the answer keys)

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