The Writing Life 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. To what does Dillard compare writing a book?

2. Which religious sect did Dillard read about in the Virginia library?

3. Where does Dillard say she wound up putting her pen drawing in Chapter 2?

4. What animal, according to Dillard, is an analogy for characters in a writer's book "taking over"?

5. How does Dillard describe the process of writing a book?

Short Essay Questions

1. In Chapter 1, what does Dillard say she thinks of as the usual reasons for an author getting stuck in a book?

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

3. Dillard vows to remember her difficulties writing in Roanoke, Virginia. Why is this ironic?

4. Why did the inchworm in Dillard's story keep asking itself, "What! No further"?

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

6. Describe the inside of Dillard's study on Cape Cod.

7. What analogy does Dillard use to explain how a book leads its writer on?

8. Why does Dillard believe that putting together a book is interesting and exhilarating?

9. What decision did Dillard make to finally shut herself off from all distractions at the library carrel?

10. When Dillard glanced in the daylight at one of the stacks of books she regularly touched to feel her way at night, what surprised her?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Dillard has problems with her writing throughout the book. She cannot concentrate, gets distracted, and cannot produce anything on some days. How did Dillard overcome her problems? What led her to better understand herself and the work she does?

Essay Topic 2

What was it about the fanaticism of Dillard's twenties that shocked her when she was writing this book? Why did she fear that it would? Describe ways noted throughout the book that exhibit Dillard's fanaticism. Is fanaticism an appropriate label for Dillard? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Dillard asks why anyone would read books with advertising slogans and brand names in them.

Why does Dillard feel this is not a good thing to have in books?

Do you agree with her? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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