Ironweed Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

William Kennedy
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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. Why does Francis work in the cemetery?

2. What had Dick Doolan’s job been, when he worked in the Tenderloin?

3. What year is it in the present moment of the novel?

4. What accusation does the ghost of the first man Francis killed accuse Francis of?

5. Where did Francis tell the intern in Indiana his fingertip was?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. Describe Francis’ relationship with his mother.

5. How is Francis feeling at the beginning of the novel?

6. What price does Helen pay for sleeping in Finny’s car?

7. Describe the relationship between Francis and Rudy.

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

9. How did Francis end up killing Harold Allen?

10. How did Francis come to see Aldo Campione die?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Where is the climax of this book? Are there different climaxes? What questions does each climax resolve? What questions does each climax leave unanswered?

Essay Topic 2

Ironweed takes place over three days: Halloween, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. What is the role of these Catholic holidays in Ironweed? What do these holidays explain in the novel?

Essay Topic 3

The ending of the novel is ambiguous, but there are clues throughout the novel about whether it might be read optimistically or pessimistically. What indications does Kennedy give the reader about what to make of the ending? What conclusion do you come to about the conclusion?

(see the answer keys)

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