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 John assure Ruth of regarding Marion in the beginning of Chapter 9?

2. What does the doctor suggest to Marion at the end of Chapter 11?

3. Where do John, Marion and Franklin meet for breakfast in Chapter 8?

4. What do John and Fay eat for dinner in Chapter 9?

5. Who is Carl involved with as of Chapter 8?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How do Carl and John bond in Chapter 7?

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

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

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

7. How does John anger Ruth at the beginning of Chapter 7?

8. What does Mrs. Woodmore request of John in Chapter 12?

9. How do Ruth, Fay and Cyndi gang up on John at the beginning of Chapter 9?

10. How does Marion's friend, the doctor, help John in Chapter 11?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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

Write an essay about the character of Fay Taft and how she is portrayed in the novel. To what extent if Fay an enigmatic character? How do both John and her father struggle to understand her and what she wants in her life? What fears do other characters have for her? In the end, is Fay a strong or a weak individual? What challenges and conflicts does Patchett use to reveal her essential character in the novel?

(see the answer keys)

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