Taft Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Ann Patchett
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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. Before leaving the Woodmoore's, what does John invite Ruth to do?

2. What does John decide was an pivotal event for Fay and Carl?

3. In Chapter 1, what is John doing to fend off depression?

4. What does Carl say to John at the end of Chapter 5?

5. In Chapter 6, what does Taft fear regarding his in-laws and his children?

Short Essay Questions

1. What happened to the Taft family after the patriarch's death?

2. How are Taft's feelings about race elucidated in Chapter 6?

3. Describe John and Fay's first kiss.

4. What call does John Nickel make at work in Chapter 2?

5. In Chapter 2, what does Fay reveal to John about herself?

6. Why does John call Ruth in Chapter 6?

7. What is the nature of Ruth and John's visit together in the midst of Chapter 6?

8. What role does Carl play at Muddy's as time does on?

9. Who does Fay introduce John to Chapter 2?

10. In what state is Carl when John and Fay find him in Chapter 3?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

John Nickel is a deeply sympathetic character, but his self-destructive tendencies come into view whenever he becomes sexually entangled with a woman. Write an essay about three such of these entanglements. How does each begin and how does each develop? What personal weaknesses do these trysts reveal in John? What mental anguish do they unearth? Does John overcome this anguish by the end of the novel? If so, how?

Part 1) Marion

Part 2) Ruth

Part 3) Fay

Essay Topic 2

Throughout the novel, many of Carl Taft's true objectives remain unknown to John Nickel and the reader. Write an essay discussing how these objectives are obscured and finally revealed. What drives Carl after his arrival in Memphis, and why is he treated as a lovable screw-up? How does this notion of his harmlessness prove to be incorrect? Discuss how Patchett reveals the fallacy of this notion, and what changes in the world of the novel after it is revealed.

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay about the tenuous relationship between John and Marion in the novel. How did they discover each other, and what was the root of their infatuation? Discuss how the birth of Franklin forever changes the nature of this relationship? Throughout the plot of the novel, what do Marion and John want from each other and what obstacles prevent their relationship from flourishing or forever fading away?

(see the answer keys)

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