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. Who professes that Bernard looks composed?

2. What are the children doing as the novel begins?

3. Which subject do the children appear to have a strong grasp of?

4. What significant fact does the reader learn about Bernard's life early in Section 4?

5. After reading the opening to Section 4, about what time of day is it?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Which of the boys seems to have the strongest attachment to Percival? Please provide some evidence in your answer.

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

4. Which of the characters appears most at ease in Section 3, and why?

5. Characterize Bernard's attitude towards Louis as described in Section 3.

6. What is the major event that occurs in Section 4, and why is it significant?

7. 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.

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Evaluate the novel's final image. It is an appropriate one? What is the significance of both the waves as they appear in these vignettes, and as a title? Are there other instances of waves appearing in this novel, rather than in their literal form? There are many instances where a character's interior monologue describes something as being wave-like. Does the novel structurally parallel waves?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

For a novel that features characters who think so much about self-determination and identity, what does Woolf ultimately say about the quest for self-knowledge? Develop an argument that includes plenty of textual evidence to support your belief.

(see the answer keys)

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