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. What do the McPheron brothers find when they arrive back at the ranch?

2. What does Tom do about the horse?

3. Why have the McPheron brothers been driving around Holt for three hours?

4. What does Victoria think about after Dwayne leaves?

5. What does Victoria tell Maggie is wrong at the McPherons' house?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the following:

1. What is a plot? What are the most important elements of a plot and their definition? Do all novels have a plot? Why or why not?

2. Write a brief synopsis of the plot of Plainsong, identifying where the various elements of the plot occur (Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution or denouement). Do you find it difficult to identify the plot? Why or why not? What about the various elements of the plot?

3. Identify the major sub-plots and their elements (They may not contain every element of a major plot). Do the sub-plots add to the main plot? Why or why not. Are the sub-plots interesting in and of themselves? Why or why not.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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