Play It as It Lays 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 does everything look to Maria as she leaves the house where she had her abortion?

2. At Anita Garson's party, what is the young girl Larry Kulik is watching doing?

3. Where was Maria born?

4. As the novel opens, what fictional character does Maria say she does NOT ask what makes this person evil?

5. What does the man who doesn't like artificial lemon juice at BZ and Helene's do for a living?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Maria's mother die and why is it significant?

2. What is the coral snake Maria thinks about as the novel opens a metaphor of?

3. What time does Maria want to be on the freeway and why is it significant?

4. Why does Carter tell Maria tell Kate that it is not good for her to visit Kate unannounced and what does it reveal about Kate's treatment?

5. How does BZ respond to Maria's inquiries about whom Carter is sleeping with and what does it signify?

6. How do Larry Kulik and BZ behave around the girl in the white halter dress at a party Maria attends and why is it significant?

7. Where does Maria begin to sleep after her breakup with Carter and why is it significant?

8. When Maria asks if Carter and she are separated when he returns home, how does he respond and why is it significant?

9. What does Maria do when she moves to New York and why is it significant?

10. What kind of arrangements does Maria have to make in order to terminate her pregnancy at this time?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss loss as a major theme in the novel. What has Maria lost in her life and how does she cope with loss?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss autobiographical elements in "Play It as It Lays". What aspects of Didion's life is portrayed in the novel.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the role of friendship in the novel.

1. What is the nature of Maria and Helene's friendship?

2. What is the nature of Maria and BZ's relationship?

(see the answer keys)

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