Reading in the Dark 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. In Chapter 1, why doesn't the boy's mother want him to cross by the window at the top of the stairs?

2. Which section of the library does Crazy Joe frequent?

3. Who is Ena?

4. According to the local belief his father told the boy, who gathers at the Field of the Disappeared at Christmas and other festivals?

5. What causes the boy to have nightmares?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is the boy uncomfortable with the sympathy he feels for the police after Rory Hannaway's death?

2. How is the novel The Shan Van Vocht an example of female symbolism?

3. Who is Tony and what happened to him?

4. How can we see in Chapter 2 that the belief in the supernatural is a powerful force in Northern Ireland during this time?

5. Describe the events surrounding the distillery and what happens to it.

6. How does the boy get rid of the rat problem?

7. What memory does the boy have of an interaction between him and Crazy Joe?

8. What local belief surrounds the Field of the Disappeared?

9. How do we see the boy react and respond to his circumstances in Chapter 1 instead of accepting them at face value?

10. How is the theme of disappearance used in Chapter 1?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What is the significance of disappearance and death as themes in the novel?

1. Are these themes important to keeping the secret a mystery to the boy?

2. How does the story of Eddie's death change for the boy as more people disappear or die?

3. How are the stories told by the characters (Sean, Francis, Frances, Brigid, Claire Falkener, Grenaghan, etc.) all related to this theme of death and disappearance?

Essay Topic 2

There are several symbols discussed in the novel. Discuss the use and meaning of disappearance, death, fire, and tradition.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the significance of silence in the novel.

1.) How and why does Larry McLaughlin stop talking? How does it affect the family secret?

2.) How and why does Brigid stop talking? What does this reflect on Larry's own silence?

3.) How and why does the boy's mother stop talking? How does this affect her inner turmoil?

(see the answer keys)

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