Taft Test | Final 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 Mrs. Woodmore ask John to do regarding Fay in Chapter 12?

2. How many shifts in a row is Taft planning to work in Chapter 8?

3. In Chapter 8, Wallace reveal Carl to be what?

4. In Chapter 7, why does John think the crowd is larger than normal?

5. What is Carl doing when John asks him to help with the deck in Chapter 12?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Carl explain his arrest in Chapter 9?

2. What do John and Franklin do together at the end of Chapter 8?

3. Where does John go to recuperate in Chapter 12?

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

5. Describe Taft's interaction with Tommy Lawson's son in Chapter 10?

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

7. What difficulty do John and Fay face in bailing Carl out in Chapter?

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

9. What is John's catharsis at the end of Taft?

10. What happens at dinner in Chapter 7.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Over the course of the novel, Carl Taft appears to be a dangerous and dynamic character. The reader experiences him at many points in his life. Write a three-part essay about the trajectory Carl Taft takes over the course of the novel:

Part 1) What is Carl's life like before his father dies? Discuss what he values in life and what challenges he faces. What does his father do to keep him in line? What mistakes does he make in his adolescent years?

Part 2) Discuss the significance of Taft's death in Carl's life. How is his experience of this tragedy different from his sister's and mother's? What makes it more painful for him, and what significant collapse occurs in his character before he leaves Coalfield?

Part 3) How does the world of Memphis prove horribly detrimental to Carl's life? Discuss how bad habits and addiction become near-suicidal in the larger city? What is Carl's low point and how is he partially redeemed by the end of the novel?

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay about Levon Taft, and how he is largely a creation of John Nickel's imagination. Why would John Nickel become fixated on Taft? How does he become aware of Taft's existence and death? Discuss the origin of the information in the Taft narrative: his first name, his car, and his various jobs. When would John have heard about these details? Discuss how the final chapter involves John's complete immersion in a Taft construction.

(see the answer keys)

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