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. Why was Conrad in the hospital?

2. What marks Conrad's happiest time in the novel?

3. What kind of person does Conrad perceive himself to be?

4. How does Conrad describe being on the swim team?

5. Where does Lazenby invite Conrad?

Short Essay Questions

1. What causes Conrad to worry about his ability to survive in chapter 7?

2. Describe the new goals that Conrad sets for himself.

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

4. Describe Cal's first appointment with Dr. Berger.

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

6. Why doesn't Conrad tell anybody that he has quit the swim team?

7. What makes Cal think that Conrad is resuming a regular routine in chapter 1?

8. When Beth and Cal attend a dinner party in chapter 8, what does Beth get angry about?

9. Describe Beth's attitude toward Cal and Conrad in chapter 6.

10. The morning that the novel starts, what things does Conrad wonder?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Throughout the novel, the focal point changes back and forth from Conrad to Cal. Why does Judith Guest switch back and forth between the two characters? Is this an effective technique used to tell the story?

Essay Topic 2

Analyze cause and effect in the novel. For example, Karen's death causes Conrad to have an emotional breakthrough. Analyze at least three different causes and effects in the novel.

Essay Topic 3

Many of the characters in "Ordinary People" feel guilty. For example, Conrad feels guilty over the death of his brother, Jordan. How is guilt one of the major themes in the novel? What characters experience guilt and why?

(see the answer keys)

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