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. In Chapter 18, why do agents use Desk Names?

2. How does the author describe the man in Chapter 5?

3. In Chapter 14, what does one interviewee say was the basis of IRS agent performance review in the past?

4. What makes Lane feel out of place in Chapter 16?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Stecyk try to do in Chapter 12?

2. In Chapter 9, what does the author say is wrong with his publisher?

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

4. What is the purpose of Chapter 11?

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

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

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

8. What makes Claude happy in Chapter 2?

9. How is Chapter 9 different from the rest of the chapters in this novel?

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

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

How is characterization accomplished in this novel? Consider the fact that characters will appear in one chapter and not again for several chapters. Consider how many of the characters interact with minor and unnamed characters. Also, how is characterization accomplished in chapters that exist to develop the IRS and setting only?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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