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. How does Chapter 1 explain the plot of this novel?

2. In Chapter 9, what does the author say is the IRS' biggest strength?

3. What feeling does the author add to Mr. Glendenning's quote in Chapter 9?

4. Why is Lane outside of the office in Chapter 16?

5. What are Desk Names, as defined in Chapter 18?

Short Essay Questions

1. In Chapter 13, what problem does the main character suffer from?

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

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

4. What makes Chapter 4 different from Chapters 1-3?

5. In Chapter 16, what does Lane Dean Jr.'s character reveal about the work of the IRS?

6. What point does the author make about the "information society" in Chapter 9?

7. In Chapter 19, what seems to be the favored solution to what is wrong with America?

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

9. What is Stecyk's job in Chapter 14?

10. Why do people dislike the boy in Chapter 5?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Examine the use of dialogue vs the use of description. Look at how each is used in the novel and what makes these uses effective or ineffective.

Essay Topic 2

Analyze the layering of people named David Foster Wallace in this novel. Explore the relationship between the three Davids in the novel: the author, the narrator and the character. What makes these people different? What makes them the same?

Essay Topic 3

How do characters remain the same as they age? How do they change? Compare and contrast the characters who change vs. those who remain the same. What message does this deliver about childhood and the transition into adulthood?

(see the answer keys)

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