Straight Man Test | Final 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. After visiting with his father, Hank goes to teach his composition class. Who does he notice is not there?

2. What name does Hank's doctor give to the health issue Hank had earlier in the novel?

3. Hank describes his father as leaving the family. What is one reason he left the family?

4. What does Hank learn as the meeting below him comes to an end?

5. After Hank leaves his doctor's office, he almost runs his mother down. Who is she with?

Short Essay Questions

1. On Monday morning, Hank gets a call from Lou Steinmetz. What is Lou's job and what does he ask Hank about? Who calls Hank right after Lou? What does he tell Hank?

2. What does Mr. Purty tell Hank about his father? What is Hank's reaction?

3. After Hank teaches his class and finds out that his student Leo is actually responsible for killing the birds on campus, Hank goes to see the dean, Jacob Rose. What does Jacob tell him? How does Hank react? What happens after this?

4. The morning after Hank and Tony end up in the same place, what does Hank find when he heads home? What does he do instead? What does he find out?

5. After Hank leaves his doctor's office, what are the series of events that ensue that involve his mother?

6. What happens while Hank is up in the office building ceiling?

7. Why was Hank's father offered such a desirable position?

8. Hank goes back to his office after seeing his mother on the street. What happens to him there and what does he immediately do?

9. After Hank's calls from Lou and Teddy, Hank heads to campus but stops at the diner first. Who does he meet there and what does this individual tell Hank?

10. When Hank gets to his office the morning the goose is found hanging in the tree,, what emotional state is his secretary in? Why is this?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss Hank as the protagonist in Straight Man. What is the definition of protagonist? Discuss both Hank's positive and negative characteristics, and give three examples of each to show how they influence the actions he takes and the decisions he makes.

Essay Topic 2

For the better part of the novel, Hank seems to be suffering what is popularly known as mid-life crisis. What actions and reactions of Hank's show that he might be having a crisis of identity? Explain where this crisis of identity might arise from.

Essay Topic 3

Why do you think Richard Russo included an Epilogue in "Straight Man"? (i.e., what do you think his intent was?) Give three reasons why you believe the Epilogue is an effective way to end the novel.

(see the answer keys)

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