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 is Mr. Woodmoore's career?

2. Where does Fay kiss John in Chapter 6?

3. What does Carl do while he is at the bar in Chapter 3?

4. In Chapter 5, When is Marion planning to bring Franklin to Memphis?

5. What does Taft feel his in-laws use against him?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Describe John and Fay's interaction in Chapter 7.

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

4. What does Fay ask John at dinner in Chapter 9?

5. Why does Taft ask his children to stay home Friday night?

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

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

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

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

10. How is Levon Taft's life described in Chapter 5?

Essay 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

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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