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. What sport did Dillard play with a boys' music camp?

2. Which book does Dillard say she discovered that she touched every night in the darkened library to find her room?

3. As explained by Dillard in Chapter 1, what must be done to a piece of writing after the first draft is finished?

4. Who does Dillard say that she believes to be one of the most prolific writers who has ever lived?

5. What is the title of the Jack London book mentioned in Chapter 2?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. Why does Dillard say that she made a pen drawing of the scenes outside her library window?

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In working-class France, when an apprentice was hurt, the more experienced worker told him that "it is the trade entering his body." What is meant by this statement? How can art or creativity enter the body? How must a writer accommodate herself to the writing?

Essay Topic 2

Dillard taped up her pen drawing of the scene outside her window to the venetian blinds. Explain how this helped her concentrate on her work.

What was missing in the drawing of the scene that was really outside the window? Why wasn't it enough for her to just close the blinds?

Essay Topic 3

What was Dillard, as a reader, looking for and hoping to find when reading? What emotions and insights did Dillard hope to find? What does Dillard believe many people do that inspires her to write "..instead we watch television and miss the show"?

(see the answer keys)

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