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 does the ranger in Chapter 4 warn Fay and John not to do before letting them into the battlefield?

2. While giving Fay a tour of the bar in Chapter 2, John marvels what about Tennessee?

3. At the beginning of Chapter 3, what does John decide he will do if Franklin wants to visit?

4. Who is teaching Fay a new skill at Muddy's in Chapter 5?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Fay describe her family to John In Chapter 6?

2. What difficulty do John and Fay face in bailing Carl out in Chapter?

3. What does Mrs. Woodmore request of John in Chapter 12?

4. How does John anger Ruth at the beginning of Chapter 7?

5. Describe the interchange between Carl and John in Chapter 4?

6. What do John and Franklin do together at the end of Chapter 8?

7. What does Wallace tell John about Carl in Chapter 8?

8. Why is Taft shaken by the site of Carl's accident in Chapter 10?

9. Why does John call Ruth in Chapter 6?

10. What is John's catharsis at the end of Taft?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the narrative structure of "Taft" in an essay. What two narratives comprise the story of the novel? How does Patchett interweave the two plotlines? To what extent does the reader already know the outcome of one of these plots? Discuss the ways the author is able to comment on over narrative with the other? What thematic elements does each share?

Essay Topic 2

One of the central plotlines of the novel is the relationship between John Nickel and John Taft. This relationship is odd in that it does not abandon itself to the sexual tension around it. Write a three-part essay, analyzing this relationship:

Part 1) What is John Nickel's initial impression of Fay Taft, and why does he decide to bring her on to staff at Muddy's? Discuss how the relationship between Fay and John develops in the first weeks. How does it shift on the night that Carl overdoses?

Part 2) Discuss how John and Fay's impromptu trip to Shiloh helps develop the relationship between them. Why do they go? What is each character looking for from the other in these passages? What act of tenderness occurs at the end of the night?

Part 3) How does the relationship between John and Fay become a romantic relationship? What events help catalyze this shift? What kind of reaction does this receive from those around them, and how does the romantic entanglement effectively end?

Essay Topic 3

The world of "Taft" is - for much of the novel - the world of Muddy's, the bar John Nickel runs. This microcosm of Memphis is created by the individuals that populate it. Write an essay about three characters that populate Muddy's. How would you describe each character? What role does each play in the plot? Is this a sympathetic individual? What does this character add to the setting of the novel?

Part 1) Rose

Part 2) Cyndi

Part 3) Wallace

(see the answer keys)

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