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. Who once said, "Which is the work in which he hasn't surrendered, under dire difficulty, the best thing he meant to have kept"?

2. In the life of a Danish aristocrat mentioned in Chapter 2, what did he do for most of the day?

3. What part of the body does the "line of words" in Chapter 1 invade?

4. Who did Dillard see standing at the chess table in the Roanoke library one night?

5. What did Wallace Stevens dictate to his secretary?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Dillard say that she defines the meaning of schedules, in Chapter 2?

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

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

4. When Dillard heard a June bug bumping up against the carrel window one night, what did the noise bring her to realize?

5. 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"?

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

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

8. 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?

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

10. What, outside Dillard's library window, proved to cause the most distraction to her work?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Dillard states that "Appealing workplaces are to be avoided."

1. Why might this be true?

2. How does Dillard know this to be true for her?

3. What should a writer's workplace consist of, and why?

Essay Topic 2

In Chapter 6, Dillard explains the haunting aspects of the island on Haro Strait. What haunted Dillard about the island? What is it about these aspects of the island that can be related to the writing life in general?

Essay Topic 3

Explain the vision of what a projected work of art is, whether it be writing or painting. How does the vision lead one to a finished product?

(see the answer keys)

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