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 is Cyndi angling for in Chapter 4?

2. How is the weather when John arrives at the Woodmoore house in Chapter 5?

3. What does Taft wonder about his son in Chapter 5?

4. In Chapter 6, how does Taft feel about visiting his in-laws?

5. What is the primary reason for the Tafts' visit to Memphis in Chapter 6?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why does Levon Taft dislike his in-laws?

3. Why does John refuse to be taken to a hospital after being shot?

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

5. What does John reason about the Taft house in the beginning of Chapter 4?

6. What does John imagine at the end of Chapter 4?

7. How does John feel about Fay's neighborhood in Chapter 3?

8. Why is John deeply gladdened by his morning with Marion and Franklin in Chapter 11?

9. Where does John go to recuperate in Chapter 12?

10. How is Levon Taft's life described in Chapter 5?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The novel of "Taft" has a major character's death at the center of its narrative, and the ramifications of this death serve as a dire warning to the other characters. Write an essay about death and the fear of death in "Taft". How does Taft's death ripple through the narrative of the novel? How does its effect confirm John's fears about Franklin? What does he worry will happen if he disappears from his son's life?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Over the course of the novel, Carl Taft appears to be a dangerous and dynamic character. The reader experiences him at many points in his life. Write a three-part essay about the trajectory Carl Taft takes over the course of the novel:

Part 1) What is Carl's life like before his father dies? Discuss what he values in life and what challenges he faces. What does his father do to keep him in line? What mistakes does he make in his adolescent years?

Part 2) Discuss the significance of Taft's death in Carl's life. How is his experience of this tragedy different from his sister's and mother's? What makes it more painful for him, and what significant collapse occurs in his character before he leaves Coalfield?

Part 3) How does the world of Memphis prove horribly detrimental to Carl's life? Discuss how bad habits and addiction become near-suicidal in the larger city? What is Carl's low point and how is he partially redeemed by the end of the novel?

(see the answer keys)

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