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. When he is alone, who "is nothing" in Section 4?

2. What is Louis doing upon the commencement of his major monologue in Section 3?

3. Who is the first character to speak?

4. What is the name of the cook at school?

5. In Section 4, how would you characterize the characters' attitude towards each other?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What is the significance of having each character introduce themselves by identifying a specific image in Section 1?

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

7. Describe how each character is presented in Section 1.

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

9. 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.

10. Describe the fears, or the lack of fears, that the characters articulate in Section 3.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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