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. In what novel does Gardner note the rooftop scene as being one of surprise in Chapter 1?

2. Where did Raymond Carver move to Chico, California from?

3. What does Gardner compare to the floors and structural supports in a fine old mansion in Chapter 1?

4. Which sci-fi author wrote A Canticle for Liebowitz?

5. Gardner suggests the young writer get a first-rate freshman composition book such as An American Rhetoric by whom?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. How does the young author learn technique through reading others?

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

6. What does Gardner write of expressing characters' emotions in Chapter 1?

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

8. What does Gardner say in Chapter 1 regarding "verbal sensitivity?" What does this term mean?

9. What does Gardner say of writers with "bad taste" in language in Chapter 1?

10. What does Gardner write about showy language in Chapter 1?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the exceptions that Gardner makes in reference to James Joyce, Franz Kafka, and Samuel Beckett. What in their writing differs from the traditional and still "works"?

Essay Topic 2

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

Essay Topic 3

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

(see the answer keys)

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