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. Why do the male praying mantis come near the female?

2. After she examines the snake skin closely, what does she figure out?

3. Why do birds sing?

4. How do ladybugs hibernate?

5. What about the creek creates healing sounds?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. This very brief chapter, "Untying the Knot," is about time. What does Dillard want time to be?

3. How does Dillard relate the plankton to the Eskimo learning about Christianity and to herself?

4. Why do you think the story about the coot might be significant?

5. Describe the two ways of seeing, according to Dillard.

6. Dillard uses stories from the pre-modern Eskimo culture throughout this book. Why do you think she connects so strongly with this culture?

7. The Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is, on the surface, a stream of consciousness journey through the natural world around Tinker Creek. What does "stream of consciousness" writing entail? In your answer address plot, characterization and theme.

8. How does Dillard believe her time at Tinker Creek has helped her?

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

10. How does Dillard muse on the "how" of creating?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the first part of chapter eight, the author goes into great detail about many phenomena of the natural world. Write about some of the details she has written. How has her writing changed in this chapter to reflect the theme of the intricacy of nature?

Essay Topic 2

Up to the second section of chapter eight, Dillard has primarily described details of creation. In the second part of the chapter she moves to trying to understand more about creation, and, as such, moves from logic to mysticism. Discuss the writing she has used to show this shift from observing creation to trying to understand it. What might it mean to say this moves the author from logic to mysticism?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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