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 was Fay's mother's occupation before her husband's death?

2. In Chapter 6, what does Taft fear regarding his in-laws and his children?

3. What does John decide was an pivotal event for Fay and Carl?

4. What task in the bar does John worry about delegating in Chapter 3?

5. What makes Taft uncomfortable about Memphis in Chapter 6?

Short Essay Questions

1. How is Ruth introduced in Chapter 5?

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

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

4. Where do John and Fay travel in Chapter 4?

5. Why did John return to Marion?

6. Why do Taft's in-laws get annoyed at Carl in Chapter 6?

7. Who does Fay introduce John to Chapter 2?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Write an essay about the dark worldview that exists in the novel. Citing specific examples from the text, discuss in what respect the world of Taft is dangerous, particularly to children. How are the innocent in danger throughout the novel, and what misfortunes befall them? Focusing on Fay and Carl Taft, chart the way naïve figures face the world's challenges. How do these experiences reflect on the prospect of Franklin growing up without a father?

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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