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. How does the narrator characterize Helen after her relationship with Arthur ended?

2. Why does Francis say he never committed suicide?

3. What does Francis tell Harold Allen he wanted to do, at the strike?

4. What was the outcome of Helen’s one pregnancy?

5. How does Francis characterize his ability to atone for the past?

Short Essay Questions

1. What was Francis’ mother’s relationship with Katrina Daugherty like?

2. Describe the vision Francis sees at Colonie Street.

3. Why does Helen say that she and Francis could not marry?

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

5. What peace does Francis establish with the ghosts who have been following him?

6. What does Francis buy from Rosskam, and what is its significance?

7. How does Helen feel about her life, when she is summing it up as she dies?

8. How did Helen’s father’s death change her life?

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

10. Describe Helen’s relationship with Arthur.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Who is the audience for Ironweed? What is the ideal reader for Ironweed likely to think about the book’s main topics? How does this book try to affect the reader? What is it trying to teach him or her, or get him or her to do?

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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