Taft Test | Final Test - Hard

Ann Patchett
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Why is Carl particularly angry about having his stash taken in Chapter 8?

2. Why is Wallace surprised by in Chapter 7?

3. Who visits Taft in the middle of the night in Chapter 10?

4. What does John assure Ruth of regarding Marion in the beginning of Chapter 9?

5. What does John tell Teddy to do in Chapter 11 after the bar closes?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"Taft" is a story of two fathers: Levon Taft and John Nickel. Compare these two protagonists in an essay. What flaws does each father have? How does the author make clear to the reader that both Taft and John are, at heart, good men? Which struggles do the men share, and what problems are unique to each? Discuss the way each man's arc is a commentary on the other.

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

One of Anne Patchett's great gifts in dramatizing the moments between parents and children that typify the beauty of this type of relationship. Three such moments can be seen as pivotal moments in the novel. Write an essay about these three transcendent moment in the novel:

Part 1) Discuss the evening visit between Taft and Fay at the lumber yard. Why does Fay decide to interrupt her date to visit her father? In what respect is it a gift he desperately needs? How does this visit change his feelings about his relationship with his daughter?

Part 2) Discuss the moment in Chapter 11 that leaves John Nickel glowing. What does Franklin say he remembers about John, and why does this surprise John? How does it shift his thoughts regarding whether or not to reunite with Marion?

Part 3) Discuss the final passage of "Taft". How does is signify the perfect relationship between father and child? What is being taught by the parent, and how does the child receive the knowledge? What does this say about the joys and fears of parenthood?

(see the answer keys)

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