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. About what do some of Dunlap's friends warn him?

2. What is the year of the opening of the first chapter?

3. What does Carl make hitchhikers think?

4. What does Arvin expect of his father after hearing the statement about Charlotte?

5. Where does Willard put the animal carcasses?

Short Essay Questions

1. How long have the Russells lived in Mitchell Flats and how does that affect the townpeople's attitude towards them and Arvin's time at school?

2. What does Roy do that causes the crowd to panic?

3. About what does Deputy Sheriff Bodecker fantasize?

4. What does Arvin start to do when he hears someone nearby and what is his father's reaction? How does Arvin feel what his father tells him to do?

5. What does Willard do after Charlotte's funeral?

6. What happens one night when Willard wakes Arvin?

7. How does Roy end up killing Helen?

8. What happens to the young, attractive soldier that Carl and Sandy pick up?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Characters are an integral and important part of almost all novels. Discuss the following:

1. Compare/contrast the characters of Arvin and Willard. How are they similar? How are they different? Is there a flaw in each of their personalities? Be specific and give examples.

2. Compare/contrast the characters of Emma and Sandy. How do they seem different? Which do you like more? Why? Which one seems more of a well-rounded character?

3. Thoroughly analyze how three of the secondary characters in The Devil All the Time help drive the plot and what their contribution is to the storyline. Are any of the secondary characters unnecessary? Indispensable? Which of the secondary characters are likable? Which are either unlikable or even despicable? Be specific and give examples.

Essay Topic 2

Willard's killing of Dunlap and the apparent spilling of his blood, is a grotesque reiteration of the narrative's emphasis on violence - another motif. It can also be seen as tying in with the two lessons Willard gave Arvin in the prologue of what Willard sees as standing up for himself and how he clearly chooses his time to do so quite carefully.

1. What do you think the author is saying about violence in this work? Use examples from your life and the text to support your answer.

2. Discuss Willard in light of his belief that the sacrifice of animals, and then a human, would restore his wife to health. Use examples from your life and the text to support your answer.

3. How do you think the two lessons Arvin received from Willard affected Arvin's life? Use examples from your life and the text to support your answer.

Essay Topic 3

Often, authors will write about "what they know," and sometimes knowing a little about the author makes the books more interesting. Discuss the following:

1. Research and give a brief biographical sketch of Donald Ray Pollock.

2. What in Pollock's background may have helped him in writing "The Devil All the Time"? What may have influenced the way he depicts various characters and scenes?

3. Do you think there is always some of the author's own life in his/her novels? Why or why not? Give examples.

(see the answer keys)

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