Pilgrim at Tinker Creek 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. How did Radford, Virginia decide to control their starling problem?

2. How does the author say one can obtain "unself-conscious state?"

3. She claims the ability to see what is hidden is what?

4. What causes most insects' behavior?

5. Why are starlings hated in the Tinker Creek area?

Short Essay Questions

1. Part of Dillard's struggle in her observation of the natural world is how much violence she seems to encounter. How does she relate this to the Hebrew altar?

2. How does Dillard feel about "shadows?" What does she write to show those feelings?

3. In the second section of Chapter 11, Dillard stays almost exclusively focused on one topic, seldom straying. Why do you think she is staying so focused?

4. What story does Dillard tell about a Native American woman and winter?

5. Dillard spends the entire chapter dealing with the passing of a hurricane. How does the theme of "floods" relate to other parts of the book?

6. Dillard writes a mystical account of a real encounter with a goldfinch. Briefly describe what she wrote.

7. How is the story about the caddisfly applicable to Dillard's obsession with the present?

8. Why do you think this chapter could have been titled "Potential?"

9. In Chapter 11, Dillard is mimicking a group of people. Who is she mimicking and why? How do you know this?

10. Dillard is somewhat obsessed with how creation reproduces itself and the excess with which it does so. How might this "obsession" relate to Dillard's own life or self?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the final chapter of the book, the reader can see that in attempting to understand the natural world, the author is attempting to understand its creator. How does Dillard blend her observations of the natural world with what becomes of her beliefs in a creator? Use some of her writing to illustrate your ideas.

Essay Topic 2

The present is fleet. One barely glimpses it, and it is gone, Dillard writes. What is the present, according to the author? Why try to stay in it? How does the present compare to the past or the future? Have you ever tried to stay in the moment? Describe one situation when the author tried to stay in the now. Do you think it's possible to stay just in the now? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Dillard questions why insects seem so violent. She includes numerous examples and personal observations illustrating what seems to be violent behavior in insects. Describe some of her examples, including the insect's specific behavior and Dillard's thoughts when writing about the insect. Do you agree with Dillard's assessment? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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