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. Which of the boys' bodies does Mary appear to be most interested in?

2. How does Freddie Parr's father Jack react to the ruling by the court that Freddie's death was an accident?

3. What is the name of the student Tom Crick butts heads with the most?

4. What does Freddie Parr do to Mary as revenge for setting him up to lose the competition because she knew he couldn't swim?

5. How does Tom react to Mary's statement that "everything has changed" with Freddie's death.

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

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

3. 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.

4. Chapter 16 is titled "Longitude 0┬░." What is this a reference to?

5. In chapter 40, Tom Crick discusses "contemporary nightmares." What are they?

6. 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?

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

8. At the end of chapter 49, Tom Crick compares progress to the process of reclaiming land lost to flooding. What does he mean?

9. In chapter 48, what is the difficulty the headmaster runs into when he tries to announce Tom Cricks' retirement to the students at the school?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Carefully consider the character of Ernest Atkinson in Graham Swift's novel Waterland. Trace the mistakes he makes that lead to his social, political, and financial decline in Gildsey and that cause catastrophe for his descendants. Finally, analyze what Ernest's life might symbolize in Tom Crick's narrative about the Fens and its people.

Essay Topic 2

Graham Swift's novel Waterland features several important symbols that recur over and over again--the phlegm-like soil, the chest in the attic and the hidden key, pikes and eels, Coronation Ale, the empty bottle Tom finds in the river, the ruined windmill, and so on. Choose two of those symbols, trace in detail how they are used throughout the novel to point to something beyond themselves, and discuss how and why they are important to understanding some of the deeper truths the novel is trying to convey.

Essay Topic 3

Graham Swift's novel Waterland features four strong women characters--Sarah Atkinson, Helen Atkinson Crick, Mary Metcalf Crick, and Martha Clay. However, all of them appear to struggle with serious psychological disorders or some form of madness. What are those disorders for each of them? What appear to be their causes? How do their disorders impact the story? What is the supernatural aspect that interacts with the madness of each of them? Finally, analyze what Swift may be trying to express about the nature of women portraying all the major female characters in Waterland in this way.

(see the answer keys)

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