The Devil All the Time Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Donald Ray Pollock
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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. Who greets Willard when he arrives home?

2. What does Theodore bring to a church revival?

3. About what does Dunlap hint among his friends?

4. Who stops by where Arvin and his father are?

5. Who is Lee Bodecker?

Short Essay Questions

1. What would keep Willard from coming out to the prayer clearing and what does Arvin think of either activity?

2. How does Roy end up killing Helen?

3. Describe the church revival Willard attends with Emma.

4. What does Willard confess to Emma and what is Emma's reaction?

5. Where is Arvin joining his father?

6. Where is Willard going and what is he thinking about as he travels in Chapter 1?

7. Why does Carl wake up drenched in sweat?

8. Who are Sandy and Carl and what are they doing?

9. What happens when Arvin turns ten and how does Willard plan to fix it?

10. What interrupts Hank Bell's daydreaming?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze the theme of growth in "The Devil All the Time". Consider the following questions as you write: What characters are most concerned with growth? Why? What are some symbols of growth? Symbols of rigidity? What characters seem rigid?

2. Trace and analyze the theme of religion in "The Devil All the Time". Which characters struggle with this issue? Why? Which characters seem to possess courage? Why?

3. Trace and analyze the theme of death in "The Devil All the Time". Consider the death of Arvin's mother, the deaths by homicide and by suicide.

Essay Topic 2

The sacrifice of the dog Jack could, in all likelihood, be as shocking to the reader as it is to Arvin, so brutal and callous is Willard's action. The traumatizing effect the experience has on Arvin becomes plain later on two occasions later in the narrative - when he vows to never forget Jack and when at the novel's conclusion, he finally gives Jack's bones a decent burial. Given the connection between Jack and Arvin, just about the only character who comes out of the narrative with anything like a sense of hope or possibility, it may be that Jack can be seen as a metaphoric representation of Jesus. Not only was Jesus was sacrificed in what amounts to an act of gratuitous violence just like Jack is, but more importantly, Jack becomes, for Arvin, a symbol of hope and redemption, as Jesus has become for Christians all over the world.

1. Discuss the possibility of the symbolism of Jack to Jesus. Use examples from your life and the text to support your answer.

2. How do you think Arvin was changed by seeing Jack killed? Use examples from your life and the text to support your answer.

3. Why do you think that seeing Jack killed may have helped Arvin remain one of the only moral characters in the book? Use examples from your life and the text to support your answer.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the following:

1. What is a plot? What are the most important elements of a plot and their definition? Do all novels have a plot? Why or why not?

2. Write a brief synopsis of the plot of "The Devil All the Time", identifying where the various elements of the plot occur (Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution or denouement). Do you find it difficult to identify the plot? Why or why not? What about the various elements of the plot?

3. Identify the major sub-plots and their elements in The Devil All the Time. (The subplots may not contain every element of a major plot). Do the sub-plots add to the main plot? Why or why not. Are the sub-plots interesting in and of themselves? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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