Possession: A Romance Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

A.S. Byatt
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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. Where is the poem Swammerdam set?

2. How many pictures of Ash does Roland have?

3. What is Roland's job?

4. How does Roland feel about Fergus Wolff?

5. How many letters does Roland find in the book?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is Roland's initial reaction to the letters?

2. What is Swammerdam's situation at the end of his life?

3. What is Maud's dilemma about Leonora?

4. What are Maud and Roland concerned might happen to their find in Christabel's room?

5. What does Roland like about the library?

6. What does Maud tell Beatrice about the importance of what she finds in Ellen's journal and papers?

7. How does Roland compare Maud to Christabel?

8. How do Christabel and Ash feel about meeting secretly?

9. Who is responsible for ending the affair between Christabel and Ash?

10. Why is Mrs. Wapshott unwilling to sell Ash's letters to Cropper?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the novel, the characters are scholars who study two Victorian poets. Discuss the importance of poetry in the novel.

1) Why does Roland decide to write poems, and find a poetic voice, at the end of the novel? How is writing poetry different than studying and analyzing it?

2) What do poets accomplish with their poems in the novel? Who are the poems written for?

3) What causes poetry to persist over time in the novel? Why do the characters study poetry that is written far in the past?

Essay Topic 2

The novel is subtitled "a romance." Discuss the ways in which the novel is a romance.

1) How is intellectual investigation a kind of romance? How are the characters obsessed and entranced by what they are investigating?

2) How do the characters make romantic connections with each other? What is romance, in the context of the novel?

3) How is the novel a romance, in the sense of being a fantasy?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the metaphoric meanings in LaMotte and Ash's poems and stories as presented in the novel.

1) What is the meaning of "The Threshold," and why is it placed where it is in the story?

2) What is the meaning of the portion of "The Fairy Melusine" in the novel, and why is it placed where it is?

3) What are the meanings of the portions of "Mummy Possest" and "Swammerdam" in the novel, and why are they placed where they are?

(see the answer keys)

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