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 Taft do as soon as he returns home from the mechanic in Chapter 10?

2. Which character dies over the course of the novel?

3. What does John say that enrages Ruth in Chapter 7?

4. What does Ruth demand immediately up entering Muddy's in Chapter 9?

5. At the beginning of Chapter 12, who picks up John's prescription?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What confrontation do John and Carl have in Chapter 8?

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

6. When does Fay surprise Taft in Chapter 10?

7. Why is John deeply gladdened by his morning with Marion and Franklin in Chapter 11?

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

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

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

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

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 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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