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

2. What do John and Fay look at immediately upon entering the battlefield in Chapter 4?

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

4. When does the battlefield close in Chapter 4?

5. What is Carl wearing in Chapter 6?

Short Essay Questions

1. What confrontation do John and Carl have in Chapter 8?

2. Describe John and Fay's first kiss.

3. What does Mrs. Woodmore request of John in Chapter 12?

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

5. What is John's catharsis at the end of Taft?

6. How is Ruth introduced in Chapter 5?

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

8. How does John anger Ruth at the beginning of Chapter 7?

9. How do John and Fay meet in Chapter 1?

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Throughout much of Ann Patchett's "Taft", John Nickel has to choose between his individual desires and his duty to family. Write a three-part essay about this continuous struggle, focusing on three moments when it became apparent to him:

Part 1) When John Nickel first met Marion Woodmoore, what did he want out of life? Discuss how these personal objectives lead to his leaving of Marion in her most vulnerable time. What has to occur in John's life before he can accept his responsibilities?

Part 2) Discuss John's sense of duty to Carl Taft. At what point does John determine he needs to protect Carl, and what is his logic? What trajectory does this take? How does John increasingly put himself in danger in protecting the boy?

Part 3) What sacrifice does Mrs. Woodmoore ask John Nickel to make in the final chapter of the novel? Why is this sacrifice difficult and why is it necessary? What indication is there at the end of Taft that John will make the sacrifice?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

The world of "Taft" is - for much of the novel - the world of Muddy's, the bar John Nickel runs. This microcosm of Memphis is created by the individuals that populate it. Write an essay about three characters that populate Muddy's. How would you describe each character? What role does each play in the plot? Is this a sympathetic individual? What does this character add to the setting of the novel?

Part 1) Rose

Part 2) Cyndi

Part 3) Wallace

(see the answer keys)

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