The Optimist's Daughter 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. Why does Laurel believe her father would not have wanted an open coffin?

2. What does Judge do while Laurel reads to him?

3. Why does Judge refuse to ask Laurel about her work?

4. Why is Laurel concerned about her father?

5. Why does Laurel decide to return to the hospital the night Judge dies?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Dr. Courtland tell Laurel after her father passes away?

2. Describe Judge McKelva.

3. Why is Laurel concerned for her father?

4. Why do the neighbors blame Laurel for Judge marrying Fay?

5. What does the nurse tell Laurel when she arrives at the hospital? How does Laurel react?

6. How does gossip affect the plot in Part 3, Chapter 1?

7. What does the bird symbolize?

8. Why does Laurel believe her father married Fay?

9. How does Laurel finally catch the bird?

10. Where does Laurel expect her father to be buried?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Grief is a theme of this novel. Discuss how grief effects each of the main characters, including Laurel, Fay, and Judge. How does grief change their thinking, their behaviors? How does it affect their choices?

Essay Topic 2

Who is Phil? Why does Laurel think about him after the death of her father? What impact did his death have on Laurel? Why is Laurel more angry about his death, even after all this time, than that of her father? How has Phil's death defined Laurel's life?

Essay Topic 3

What is the significance of the breadboard? Who made the breadboard? Who used it? Why does its destruction upset Laurel so much? Who destroyed it? Why? What does this destruction say about this person? How does the discovery of this breadboard help Laurel heal?

(see the answer keys)

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