Plainsong Test | Final Test - Hard

Kent Haruf
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Where are Guthrie and Maggie dancing?

2. Where do Ike and Bobby go when they leave Mrs. Stearns' house?

3. What does Victoria ask Dwayne when she sees him?

4. With whom does Guthrie leave the bar?

5. What does Tom do when the boys finally tell him what happened?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Plainsong belongs to the Post Modern genre. Discuss the following:

1. Define the literary term "genre" and give several examples of three other genres in addition to the Post Modern genre.

2. Discuss two reasons why it might be useful to label a text by genre and two reasons it might be disadvantageous to label a text by genre.

3. What do you think is the difference between a Mainstream novel and a Post Modern novel?

Essay Topic 2

Titles often play a vital role in making a person decide to read a particular book. Discuss the following:

1. Fully explain why you think Plainsong is titled as such. Do you think it is the best title for the book? Why or why not? Can you think of a better title? Why would you choose it?

2. How important is a title in influencing you to consider reading a book? Explain your answer.

3. Do you think a title needs to have direct relevance to a book's content? Explain your answer.

4. Have you ever read a book that when you finished, you do not understand the relevance of the title? Does it discourage you from "trusting" that particular author again?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze the theme of change. Consider the following questions as you write: What characters are most concerned with change? Why? What are some symbols of change? Symbols of rigidity? What characters seem rigid?

2. Trace and analyze the theme of mental/emotional illness. Which characters struggle with some sort of emotional illness? Why? Which characters seem really healthy emotionally/mentally? Why?

3. Trace and analyze the theme of death. How did the death of Ike and Bobby's horse affect them? What about Mrs. Stearns? How was their reaction to both deaths similar and different?

4. Discuss why Ella Guthrie moving to Denver was a type of death for the Guthrie family. Use examples from the book to illustrate your discussion.

(see the answer keys)

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