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 Mr. Woodmoore's career?

2. In Chapter 4, John asks Cyndi if she would be comfortable doing what?

3. How old does Fay admit to being in Chapter 6?

4. What does John always bring with him to dinner with the Woodmoores?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. Why did John return to Marion?

6. How is Ruth introduced in Chapter 5?

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

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

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

10. Why did John Nickel leave Marion?

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

One of Anne Patchett's great gifts in dramatizing the moments between parents and children that typify the beauty of this type of relationship. Three such moments can be seen as pivotal moments in the novel. Write an essay about these three transcendent moment in the novel:

Part 1) Discuss the evening visit between Taft and Fay at the lumber yard. Why does Fay decide to interrupt her date to visit her father? In what respect is it a gift he desperately needs? How does this visit change his feelings about his relationship with his daughter?

Part 2) Discuss the moment in Chapter 11 that leaves John Nickel glowing. What does Franklin say he remembers about John, and why does this surprise John? How does it shift his thoughts regarding whether or not to reunite with Marion?

Part 3) Discuss the final passage of "Taft". How does is signify the perfect relationship between father and child? What is being taught by the parent, and how does the child receive the knowledge? What does this say about the joys and fears of parenthood?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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