The Pale King Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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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. What is the main topic of Chapter 11?

2. Why does Lowtis confront his neighbor in Chapter 20?

3. What name does the author give himself in Chapter 9?

4. Why does Stecyk appear trustworthy in Chapter 12?

5. How old is the man in Chapter 5?

Short Essay Questions

1. What makes Chapter 20 confusing in the construction of this novel?

2. How do the characters in Chapter 18 react to Desk Names?

3. In Chapter 10, how does the author explain the existence of the bureaucratic systems he describes?

4. In Chapter 5, how is the boy described?

5. Why does Wallace have to watch the interviews in Chapter 14?

6. In Chapter 9, what does the author say about the first few pages of any book?

7. How is Claude's psychic ability described in Chapter 15?

8. What makes Claude happy in Chapter 2?

9. Why does the author claim this novel is memoir in Chapter 9?

10. While describing Stecyk in Chapter 12, what does the narrator comment on about the boy's future?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Explore the author's commentary on government in "The Pale King". What is the preferred relationship between government and citizen? What is the relationship between government and government employee?

Essay Topic 2

Analyze the role of women in this novel. While most of the IRS employees are men, there are a few women characters who play major roles in the novel. How do women influence the development of the major themes? How do the women interact with the IRS? What influence does this have? In what ways do women exist outside of, and independent of, the IRS?

Essay Topic 3

How does the author create setting throughout this novel? How does the IRS become a driving force behind the creation of setting? What makes the setting of this novel important to the novel as a whole?

(see the answer keys)

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