The Waves 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. Which character closes Section 2?

2. What does the italicized prose at the beginning of the first section describe?

3. Who professes, without reservation, "Life will divide us"?

4. To what does the narrator compare the sound of the waves at the end of Section 3's beginning?

5. Who does Bernard refer to as "the authentics" in Section 4?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the differences in Jinny and Rhoda's experience's while at school in Section 2.

2. Describe in your own words the scene at the very beginning of Section 1, and offer an idea of why Woolf would begin this novel in such a way.

3. Bernard is clearly becoming the most central of the six characters. Describe his characteristics as he appears in Section 3.

4. Why is Susan so distressed after she saw Jinny kiss Louis?

5. What is significant about the way Section 2 is introduced?

6. Describe how Neville and Bernard are different as they appear in Section 3.

7. Why does Woolf use a line or two of monologue rather than dialogue to introduce the children in Section 1?

8. Briefly analyze how the characters have developed as a group in the first two sections of the novel.

9. Overall, what should the reader take away as most significant from Section 1?

10. Describe the boys' experiences in chapel while at school in Section 2.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay which compares and contrasts any two of the sections' introductory vignettes. Pick one vignette which is typical of the whole novel, and one which is atypical (there are two in particular). What separates these vignettes? Include as many reasons as you can think of as to why Woolf would change her method at such a point in the text.

Essay Topic 2

Write a detailed essay that argues that Percival is either: 1) an intrinsic character to the novel, made only more important by the fact that he doesn't speak and dies at the novel's midpoint or 2) a kind of outlier or distraction, both for the characters in the text and the reader. In the course of this essay evaluate Percival's significance, his effect on each of the characters, and the role his death plays in shaping other character's lives.

Essay Topic 3

Why does Bernard revel in solitude at the end of the text? What does this say about him, and what does it say about the group as a whole? Do you think there is any evidence that Woolf is attempting to create a more subversive message, one that tarnishes the value of unified groups and instead expresses that the kind of unity the characters had as children was unattainable ever since Jinny kissed Louis? It would also be prudent to consider Rhoda's death for this question.

(see the answer keys)

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