The Writing Life Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What does Dillard say that the printed word cannot compete with?
(a) The movies.
(b) Music.
(c) Travel.
(d) People.

2. According to Dillard, how do painters work as opposed to writers?
(a) Painters work from the ground up, writers from left to right.
(b) Painters work on a blank canvas, writers on a computer.
(c) Painters work with color, writers with black and white.
(d) Painters work with their hands, writers with their heads.

3. What does Dillard compare writing to in the first paragraph of the book?
(a) An ordeal to be probed.
(b) Laying out a line of words.
(c) A path to pick through.
(d) A dead end.

4. Where does the "line of words" go at the end of Chapter 1?
(a) To Houston, Texas.
(b) To Venus.
(c) To the sun.
(d) Out past Jupiter.

5. What do television and films do to the body's senses, according to Dillard?
(a) They make the writer sense the need to write.
(b) Stimulate them.
(c) Make connections.
(d) Numb them.

Short Answer Questions

1. What had Dillard forgotten all about as she worked on a Fourth-of-July night?

2. Who said a long poem takes between five and ten years to write?

3. Finish this West African proverb from Chapter 2: "The beginning of wisdom is.."

4. What is needed in the world more than another excellent manuscript, as far as Dillard is concerned?

5. What was seen outside the carrel window in Roanoke when Dillard peeked outside the blinds?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why did a ritual slaughterer bid goodbye to his wife and children every morning as if it were his last, in Chapter 1?

2. What is the most appealing schedule that Dillard says she knows?

3. How does Dillard describe the way in which a writer might start the process of writing a book?

4. Why does Dillard feel that an appealing workplace for a writer should be avoided?

5. When the cab driver in New York sang songs with Dillard, why did he sing one dull song twice?

6. How does Dillard describe the line of words as being one's own heart?

7. How is the line of Dillard's words likened to a hammer in Chapter 1?

8. Dillard describes the scenes from her desk at the library in Virginia. Why does she say these scenes are detrimental to her work?

9. Why is 'the path' of the line of writing, as described in Chapter 1 by Dillard, not to be considered the actual work?

10. What is the meaning of Thoreau's note that "The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or perchance a palace or temple on the earth, and at length the middle-aged man concludes to build a wood-shed with them"?

(see the answer keys)

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