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 does Willard's mother ask Willard to pray?

2. What does Arvin do for hours one night when his father sends him to the prayer log?

3. What does Willard realize is not working to help Charlotte?

4. About what is Sandy confused?

5. How does Arvin feel about his father's reaction to the statement about Charlotte?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Emma believe God will not hold her to her bargain about Willard?

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

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

4. Why does Willard decide to move his family and how does Charlotte feel about the idea?

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

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

7. Where is Arvin joining his father?

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

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

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

There are a number of interesting questions raised by "The Devil All the Time". Questions that Pollock most likely want readers to consider and think through carefully. Discuss the following:

1. What does the term "author agenda" mean?

2. Name one idea/concept you think may have been a part of the Pollock's agenda. Analyze that idea throughout the book and discuss Pollock's probable agenda concerning that idea.

2. Do you think writers who have an agenda for writing should point it out in a preface?

3. How often do you think fiction is written with a clear agenda in mind by the author?

4. Research the life of Pollock and see if/where his life may have influenced his writing.

Essay Topic 2

Oftentimes, a book has more of a character-driven plot rather than action driven, and oftentimes the other way. Some books seem to balance the two. Discuss the following:

1. What do you think it means to say that a plot is character driven? Action driven?

2. How do you think a plot differs if it is character driven versus action driven?

3. Which type of plot do you find more interesting? Why?

4. Do you think it is possible to have a plot where action and character development share equal time? Why or why not.

5. What type of plot do you think The Devil All the Time is? Explain your response.

Essay Topic 3

Many novels, and perhaps a majority, of novels ends on a happy note. Discuss the following:

1. Why do you think many (most?) people want what they perceive as a happy or good ending to a novel? Explain your opinion. Do you? Why or why not?

2. What are three reasons to read fiction? Discuss each one in light of "The Devil All the Time" and whether or not it fulfills all three, two or one of the reasons you mention. Give examples as to why "The Devil All the Time" is or is not successful in fulfilling the reasons you discuss.

3. Do you think reading solely for entertainment is as good a reason to read as any other? Why or why not? Can any work of fiction or non-fiction, no matter how poorly written, enlighten, teach, stimulate thought? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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