On Becoming a Novelist 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. Who is the author of Death in Venice?

2. Who is the author of All the King's Men?

3. With what older colleague did Gardner publish an anthology of fiction at Chico College?

4. Gardner states in Chapter 1 that Canterbury Tales is a disguised what?

5. Gardner notes in Chapter 1 that Mercutio's madness is fantastic and what?

Short Essay Questions

1. What authors does Gardner use to illustrate language and character in Chapter 1?

2. Who does Gardner refer to as the "best" novelists in Chapter 1? What lesson does he cite of them?

3. What does Gardner remark about theme in Chapter 1?

4. What does Gardner suggest as ways to understand the psychology of characters unlike themselves?

5. How does Gardner explain characterization and story through his hypothetical story in Chapter 1?

6. What is the second indicator of talent that Gardner discusses in Chapter 1? What author does he cite in this?

7. How does Gardner define "setting," "plot," and "theme" in Chapter 1?

8. Where did Gardner learn his method of writing?

9. How does Gardner describe traditional plot, victim stories, and "epiphany stories?"

10. What does Gardner assert of the author learning character through television in Chapter 1?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe the biographical history of John Gardner. How did he come to writing? What was his childhood like? Where did he study?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss Gardner's feelings about the element of "theme" when writing. Where is "theme" useful? Where is it not?

Essay Topic 3

Compare the language and characterizations of Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, and John Updike. How do these authors approach character differently?

(see the answer keys)

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