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. What key theme of the novel is introduced in Chapter 1?

2. Who tells the boy about the murder of 1921?

3. Where does the boy tell his father in Chapter 2 that he would like to go?

4. During the war, when the alarms go off because of the air raids, where does the family hide?

5. What information about the family secret does the boy know in Chapter 3 that his parents do not know?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why doesn't the author ever reveal the narrator's first name?

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

4. Why is the boy again upset with his mother at the end of Chapter 5?

5. Why does Sergeant Burke say he beat up Frank and why does he apologize for it?

6. Why is the disappearance of Uncle Eddie such a mystery?

7. Why does the boy's mother turn hostile toward him in Chapter 6?

8. How are superstitions introduced in Chapter 1?

9. What does Father Nugent talk to the boy narrator about and why does it make him uncomfortable?

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

Which characters in the novel would be considered guides for the boy narrator? What do they teach him? Are they positive or negative mentors?

Essay Topic 2

Throughout the novel, the boy encounters and overcomes many difficult situations in order to piece together his family's history and to find out what happened to his uncle. The story is riddled with sadness, death, poor choices, and loss; how can this story be redeemed? Is there any hope in this story? Support your answer with evidence from the text.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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