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. What sport was Carl a star of?

2. What rule does John have about drinking?

3. What was John's job at Muddy's when he started there?

4. In Chapter 5, why does John state he is indebted to Ruth?

5. How does John know the woman at Rum Boogie Cafe?

Short Essay Questions

1. What interchange do Fay and John have before parting in Chapter 4?

2. What do John and Fay do at the battlefield in Chapter 4?

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

4. Describe John Nickel's experience at the Rum Boogie Cafe.

5. Describe the interchange between John and Fay in Chapter 5.

6. How is Ruth introduced in Chapter 5?

7. How has John's relationship with the Woodmoores changed?

8. Describe the interchange John has with Cyndi in Chapter 4?

9. Where do John and Fay travel in Chapter 4?

10. In what state is Cyndi on the second night of Chapter 3?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about the character of Fay Taft and how she is portrayed in the novel. To what extent if Fay an enigmatic character? How do both John and her father struggle to understand her and what she wants in her life? What fears do other characters have for her? In the end, is Fay a strong or a weak individual? What challenges and conflicts does Patchett use to reveal her essential character in the novel?

Essay Topic 2

Throughout much of Ann Patchett's "Taft", John Nickel has to choose between his individual desires and his duty to family. Write a three-part essay about this continuous struggle, focusing on three moments when it became apparent to him:

Part 1) When John Nickel first met Marion Woodmoore, what did he want out of life? Discuss how these personal objectives lead to his leaving of Marion in her most vulnerable time. What has to occur in John's life before he can accept his responsibilities?

Part 2) Discuss John's sense of duty to Carl Taft. At what point does John determine he needs to protect Carl, and what is his logic? What trajectory does this take? How does John increasingly put himself in danger in protecting the boy?

Part 3) What sacrifice does Mrs. Woodmoore ask John Nickel to make in the final chapter of the novel? Why is this sacrifice difficult and why is it necessary? What indication is there at the end of Taft that John will make the sacrifice?

Essay Topic 3

The novel of "Taft" is about two fathers and the children they fear losing. Each of the central figures is concerned that he is the only thing standing between his child and the dark, vicious world around them. Write a three-part essay about the children of these fathers and how losing a paternal figure affects them:

Part 1) Discuss the concerns that Levon Taft has for Fay. What does he worry Fay is not prepared for in the wide world? What plans does he make in his final days to bring her closer? What does Fay do after Taft's death to attempt to hold the family together? How does she crumble in the wake of the tragedy?

Part 2) Compare Carl's collapse after Taft's death to Fay's. How did her experience this tragedy differently? How was he already unpredictable? Discuss the depths to which Carl falls after his father's death, and where it ends?

Part 3) How does Franklin's life change after he is taken away from his father? How does John fear his son is in danger? Discuss the ways in which Franklin and John fear separation and fight to reunite through the novel.

(see the answer keys)

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