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 John decide was an pivotal event for Fay and Carl?

2. How does Ruth treat Fay in Chapter 6?

3. In Chapter 5, what does Mr. Woodmoore say about Marion?

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

5. Where does Levon work as a night security guard?

Short Essay Questions

1. In what state is Carl when John and Fay find him in Chapter 3?

2. What role does Carl play at Muddy's as time does on?

3. What does John learn about Marion at dinner in Chapter 5?

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

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

6. Why did John return to Marion?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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