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 notice about Carl as he leaves the bar in Chapter 2?

2. Which of the following is a location John and Fay check for Carl in Chapter 3?

3. How often did John and Marion see each other after reuniting?

4. Why can Fay only stay a work for a few hours in Chapter 6?

5. Where does John tell Ruth to meet him in Chapter 6?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does John buy cigarettes in Chapter 5?

2. What does Taft worry about regarding his children in Chapter 5?

3. Why did John Nickel leave Marion?

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

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

6. Why does John call Ruth in Chapter 6?

7. Describe John Nickel's experience at the Rum Boogie Cafe.

8. What do John and Fay do at the battlefield in Chapter 4?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 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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