Ordinary People 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 does Conrad invite out on a date?

2. What is Conrad's only escape?

3. What is Cal afraid of after Conrad gets his present?

4. What does Cal realize about his family while they celebrate Christmas?

5. In chapter 14, how does Conrad feel about what he said to Beth?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Conrad's run-in with Joe Lazenby after Conrad has quit the swim team.

2. In chapter 6, what do Cal and Beth fight about?

3. What is Cal's role in his family?

4. Why is Cal surprised that Ray knows about his family's problems?

5. Why does Cal want to get Conrad a car for Christmas?

6. What does Conrad prove by making an appointment with Dr. Berger?

7. How has Conrad starting working to achieve his goals?

8. How does chapter 13 represent a breakthrough for Conrad and his family?

9. When Cal and Beth are in Texas, why doesn't Beth discuss Conrad with her family?

10. What makes Cal wonder why Conrad would ever want to kill himself?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Beth is a perfectionist, and Conrad is afraid to make mistakes. Describe the ways in which perfection is a major theme in the novel. Which characters strive for perfection? How does it affect their life and character development?

Essay Topic 2

Conrad feels that he has lost his identity after Jordan dies because he feels as if he needs to make up for the loss of Jordan. How does loss of identity tie into the novel as a theme? Analyze the other characters who have lost their identity.

Essay Topic 3

Many of the events in "Ordinary People" are realistic, such as Conrad's reaction to Karen's death. What other elements of the novel are realistic? Analyze the realism in the novel and explain whether it is effective as a literary technique.

(see the answer keys)

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