Ironweed Test | Final 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. What is Helen humming when she wakes up in the morning and starts to walk?

2. What reason does Helen give, for abdicating from life?

3. How does Rosskam demonstrate his strength?

4. Why does Francis say he never committed suicide?

5. Why does Helen tell Finny not to touch her chest?

Short Essay Questions

1. What memories does Rosskam’s sex talk evoke for Francis?

2. Explain the meaning of the attention Rosskam draws to Francis’ hands.

3. Describe Rosskam and his environment.

4. What prompts Francis to get down from Rosskam’s wagon and quit for the day?

5. What does Rosskam tell Francis about his sex life?

6. Who was Katrina Daugherty and what was her role in Francis’ life?

7. What kind of peace does Francis make with Annie?

8. Describe Helen’s relationship with Arthur.

9. Why is Helen angry with Francis, when she thinks about him in the hotel?

10. How does Francis characterize the difference between Annie’s kiss and Katrina’s?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Is Francis a hero or an anti-hero? Where does Francis fit in the continuum of other characters in literature? Compare and contrast Francis’ character with two other main characters in American literature.

Essay Topic 3

Is Francis redeemed by the events described in Ironweed, or is he left unredeemed? What obstacles to his redemption has he overcome? What obstacles remain? What spiritual state does Francis aspire to, and what does he do to attain that state?

(see the answer keys)

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