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. How old does Fay admit to being in Chapter 6?

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

3. In Chapter 6, how does Taft feel about visiting his in-laws?

4. What vaguely racist thing does the bartender at Rum Boogie Cafe do in Chapter 2?

5. At the beginning of Chapter 3, what does John decide he will do if Franklin wants to visit?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. Why does John buy cigarettes in Chapter 5?

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

8. Describe the interchange between Carl and John in Chapter 4?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

The narratives of "Taft" take place in two towns: Memphis and Coalfield. In an essay, compare the way that these two towns are portrayed in the novel. What abstract ideas and movements are represented by the towns? How does Patchett forge a tone in the novel for each of these settings? Discuss the characters that come from each town. How are their objectives and values similar and different? Do they come into conflict?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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