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 is the historical event that Tom Crick keeps returning to over and over again as he explains that history seems to move in a circle?

2. What about Mary strikes Tom when he returns from Germany at the end of World War II to marry her?

3. What did Johannes Schmidt conclude about the difference between the European eel and the American eel?

4. Who says, "explaining's a way of avoiding the facts while you pretend to get near to them?"

5. What convinced Tom Crick that he should study and teach history?

Short Essay Questions

1. in chapter 15, Tom Crick gives a history of the River Ouse and the Fenlands in its river valley. List at least three details from the river's history.

2. In chapter 43, Tom Crick parts from Price shouting "don't let him do it!" What is he referring to and what theme that has run through the novel is this a culmination of?

3. In chapter 19, Tom Crick describes the beginning of the decline of his grandfather, Ernest Atkinson. Discuss what caused that decline.

4. In chapter 14, Tom Crick's student Price asks him whether Tom thinks "we can find whatever we like in history." What it Tom's reply?

5. In chapter 3, the narrator discusses the history of the Fens in eastern England and human attempts to drain them and make them fit for agriculture. "Strictly speaking," the narrator says what about the effort to "reclaim" the Fens?

6. As he watches Dick ride off on his motorbike at the end of chapter 46, Tom states that Dick rides as if he has the legacy of the Atkinsons on his back. How so?

7. In chapter 1, the narrator describes the Crick family's relationship with the Fens how?

8. 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?

9. 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?

10. In chapter 47, Tom explains why he thinks Mary's mental illness can't be healed. Explain his reasoning.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Graham Swift's novel Waterland is set in the fictional town on Gildsey and along a fictional river, the River Leem. The Fenlands, the River Ouse, the town of Ely, and many other details are, however, real. In a sense, that fact is symbolic for how the novel treats the relationship between history and story. Using specifics and quotes from the novel, explore the relationship between fact and fiction in the novel. Make sure to include Tom Crick's opinions about history in your discussion.

Essay Topic 3

Carefully consider the relationship between the characters Tom Crick and Mary Metcalf in Graham Swift's novel Waterland. Using specifics from the novel, recount the ups and downs of their relationship. What in Tom's and Mary's personalities leads to how their relationship plays out? Finally, analyze what the significance of story-telling (or its absence) is for their relationship.

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