Waterland 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 did Johannes Schmidt conclude about the difference between the European eel and the American eel?

2. How does Tom eventually arrange to marry Mary, even though her father Harold Metcalf hates him?

3. Tom Crick mentions a similarity his father found between his home and the battlefields of World War I. What is that similarity?

4. Which one of the following is NOT one of the ghosts that is said to haunt the marches along the River Leem?

5. What does Tom Crick mean by the term "Natural History"?

Short Essay Questions

1. In chapter 24, Tom, Dick, Freddie Parr, Mary Metcalf, and a few other kids are playing together near the water. What is the importance of the eel to all the events that transpire afterwards?

2. In chapter 2, a student called Price interrupts Tom Crick, the history teacher, to tell him what about history?

3. Chapter 9 details the rise of the Atkinson family through various activities and involvements. After Tom Atkinson marries Sarah Turnbull. Sarah becomes a pivotal character in the Atkinson story. How?

4. In chapter 20, Price tells Tom Crick that he thinks "explaining's a way of avoiding the facts while you pretend to get near them." Why does Price think he does not need to have explanations for history?

5. In chapter 21, Tom Crick asks, "when the past tries to demolish itself, how do you demolish the past?" What is he getting at?

6. Chapter 49 is one more chapter Tom Crick spends lamenting what happens when idealists begin revolutions and lose sight of their ideals. What is that example?

7. In chapter 6, Tom Crick suggests that the Fens and history have what in common?

8. In chapter 7, Tom describes the complicated relationship between Mary, Tom, Freddie Parr, and Dick. Briefly discuss the main dynamics of this relationship.

9. Chapter 18 once again recounts the conversation the headmaster Lewis Scott and Tom Crick have about Tom's forced retirement. The headmaster attempts to diffuse the tension by offering Tom large amounts of what?

10. Chapter 36 is titled "About Nothing." What is the "nothing" that Tom refers to?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Sexual relationships and their consequences are central to Graham Swift's novel Waterland. Choose one of those relationships between the characters and their sexuality. Explore why the characters express their sexuality as they do. Explain the consequences these choices have for each of them and for their partners. Analyze in how far their sexual development is tied to external factors--such as social pressure--over which they have no control, and in how far it is their own choices that lead to the consequences that they have to face.

Essay Topic 2

Analyze Tom's opinions about history and fate and explain how they relate to the relationship between the parents and children he has woven into his narrative. What might the symbolic meaning be of the fact that he and Mary cannot have a child of their own, and the only way for them to have something similar is for Mary to steal an infant and for Tom to claim Price as his son in the pub?

Essay Topic 3

One of the strains in the novel Waterland concerns the differences between Tom Crick and his student Price. Outline their initial disagreements. Then discuss how Tom slowly guides Price from opposing the study of history to finding it worthwhile. In the novel, this occurs through a series of steps that are both philosophical and personal. Make sure to trace them in a detailed, logical, and chronological fashion. In your conclusion, analyze whether it is Tom who has changed Price or Price who has changed Tom.

(see the answer keys)

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