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. Where does Fay kiss John in Chapter 6?

2. Where does John tell Ruth to meet him in Chapter 6?

3. When did John decide he wanted Marion back?

4. What did Marion demand in return for moving back in with John?

5. Who approaches John Nickel about a job at the beginning of Chapter 1?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Ruth interact with Fay and John in Chapter 6?

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

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

5. How is Ruth introduced in Chapter 5?

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

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

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

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

10. Why does John call Ruth in Chapter 6?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Romance in the novel is both a powerful force between characters and also one that is overcome by other types of love. Write an essay about the way romance is portrayed in "Taft". How does John Nickel fall in love with women in different and abandoned way? How do these romances fall apart? Discuss the motivations John has to leave the women that win his heart. What is more important to him in 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

Write an essay about Patchett's portrayal of the modern Deep South in the novel. What is left of the specter of Jim Crow in the South? How do the remnants of segregation and racism manifest themselves in the narrative? Discuss how this nascent bigotry affects the character of John Nickel. Why does it make him more reticent to connect with Fay Taft? Is the city really as racist as he believes?

(see the answer keys)

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