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. Why does John give up admonishing Eddie's father in Chapter 2?

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

3. What does the Taft family do its first day in Memphis?

4. In Chapter 3, John notices that Carl does not have what?

5. How old was Marion when she met John?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What call does John Nickel make at work in Chapter 2?

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

6. Why did John Nickel leave Marion?

7. Describe John and Fay's first kiss.

8. Why does John buy cigarettes in Chapter 5?

9. How is Ruth introduced in Chapter 5?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Discuss the theme of innocence and experience in the novel, focusing on the characters of Fay and Carl Taft. How are the characters unaware of danger and vice before the death of their father? What silly and foolish mistakes do they make before this tragedy? How do these follies transform into dangerous and destructive activities after Taft's death? Why do these children become less heedful of their own safety after they lose a parent?

(see the answer keys)

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