The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Robert Goolrick
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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. How does the other person try suicide?

2. What kind of coat did mother have that she was proud of?

3. At what age did Goolrick begin having suicidal thoughts?

4. What was the result of their game?

5. At what age did most people start smoking in Virginia, according to Goolrick?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the game Goolrick and his brother used to play as children, and the consequences.

2. Explain how the patients beat the addicts in volleyball.

3. Describe details about the mental hospital.

4. Explain why Goolrick is somewhat of a star in the hospital.

5. Explain the situation that led to Goolrick's cutting behaviors.

6. Describe how mother came to own a mink coat.

7. Describe the situation when Goolrick tried to help his mother with a wound on her elbow.

8. Describe Goolrick's relationship with his male lover.

9. Describe how brother comes out of the coma.

10. Explain why Goolrick's sister-in-law claims to hate him.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

At the time of her death, Goolrick spent hours driving back and forth from home to the hospital in order to spend time with his mother. When no one else would go, Goolrick went, making sure to deliver news, as needed. When his mother was actually dying, however, Goolrick left her alone, and he claims he does not know why. Knowing what you know about Goolrick and his mother's relationship, why do you think Goolrick left his mother to die alone in a hospital? Do you think he did it out of spite, fear, anger, or was it simply an unconscious decision? Be sure to base your answer on information from the book.

Essay Topic 2

In "A Persistence of Song," Goolrick notes that he writes the novel with the hope that he can save one child from molestation. Do you think Goolrick's novel has the power to impact someone enough not to rape a child? Why or why not? Do you think the pain Goolrick's suffers in the novel is enough to convince a pedophile that their actions are not only inappropriate, but that they can ruin a life? Why? Do you think an alcoholic parent might take a moment to think about their actions with their children after reading this book?

Essay Topic 3

When Goolrick's father dies, Goolrick admits he had planned on feeling relief, but instead felt grief. Why do you think Goolrick felt anything, considering what his father did to him? What do you think Goolrick was likely truly grieving for? Based on the final chapter of the novel, how did Goolrick feel about his father? Was he a monster? Why or why not? Did Goolrick hate him, or feel sorry for him? Why? How do you think you would have felt in his situation?

(see the answer keys)

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