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

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

3. At the Rum Boogie Cafe, John is certain he will have sex with a woman despite what?

4. In Chapter 5, what does Fay say she would have named her son?

5. In Chapter 4, Taft jokes with Fay before what?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. What do Marion and John discuss at the end of Chapter 5?

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

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

9. In Chapter 2, what does Fay reveal to John about herself?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

John Nickel is a deeply sympathetic character, but his self-destructive tendencies come into view whenever he becomes sexually entangled with a woman. Write an essay about three such of these entanglements. How does each begin and how does each develop? What personal weaknesses do these trysts reveal in John? What mental anguish do they unearth? Does John overcome this anguish by the end of the novel? If so, how?

Part 1) Marion

Part 2) Ruth

Part 3) Fay

Essay Topic 2

In the insular world of Memphis as represented in this novel, many individuals have opinions regarding John's personal life. In particular, the Woodmoore family insinuates itself into his relationship with Marion. Write an essay about each of the Woomoore family-members's opinions. What does this person think John should do regarding his ex-wife? Why is this opinion held, and how does the character express the opinion to John over the course of the novel?

Part 1) Mr. Woodmoore.

Part 2) Mrs. Woodmoore.

Part 3) Ruth.

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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