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. Where has Sandy been driving?

2. How is Charlotte's funeral described?

3. What does Willard explain to his son about Willard's actions?

4. What does Hank give Arvin?

5. What does Carl make hitchhikers think?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What happens one night when Willard wakes Arvin?

4. At what does Dunlap hint to Willard one day when Willard goes to pay his rent?

5. Who is closing Maude's Store, and about what is he fantasizing?

6. Describe the church revival Willard attends with Emma.

7. 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?

8. How does Carl convince young men to have sex with Sandy and what does Carl do after they have sex?

9. How does Willard exact his revenge on the hunters later, and what does he say to Arvin about the incident?

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

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

Discuss the following:

1. Who is/are the protagonists of the story and why?

2. Who is/are the antagonists of the story and why?

3. Which 3 secondary characters have the greatest impact on the plot?

4. Are any of the characters dispensable and which ones? Why or why not?

5. Do you think this is a character-driven plot or an action-driven plot? Explain

(see the answer keys)

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