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. To what does Tom Crick compare the soil of the Fens?

2. What gives the Atkinsons the decisive advantage over the other brewers in the Gildsey area?

3. What does Tom dream that he considers telling the headmaster about?

4. What sort of proof does Mary offer that Dick cannot be the father of her child?

5. Why does his most outspoken student reject Tom Crick's attempt to teach the class history?

Short Essay Questions

1. In chapter 45, what is the symbolic significance of where Dick elected to hide the key from Tom to their mother's chest?

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

3. In chapter 27, Tom Crick explains what he means by Natural History. What does he think it is a study of, truly?

4. 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?

5. In chapter 8, Tom Crick speaks about how humans tell stories. What are some examples he uses about how history and fiction sometimes seem to overlap?

6. What is the significance of phlegm for the body according to chapter 51?

7. Briefly discuss how, in chapter 44, his interview with the police unravels Tom's earlier ideas about teaching the facts of history.

8. IIn Chapter 43, what significant change occurs in Tom and Price's attitude toward history?

9. In chapter 32, Tom Crick describes the relationship between Mary and Dick. Why does Mary say she wants to "educate" Dick and what is the version of events that she tells Tom?

10. In chapter 10, Tom Crick explains that he thinks the most important question is the question "why?" How does he use Louis XVI's fate to illustrate that point?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Religion is not an overt topic in Graham Swift's novel Waterland, but it certainly recurs as a theme. In particular, Tom Crick discusses religion in respect to two women: Gildsey's patron saint Gunnhilda and Tom's wife Mary. Using specifics and quotes from the novel, retrace the religious development those two women undergo in the novel and compare and contrast them.

Essay Topic 2

In Graham Swift's novel Waterland, one major theme is that of being truthful--both towards oneself and towards others. The narrator, Tom, is the best example for that struggle. Give an example from Tom's story (or from his story-telling) of instances when telling the truth matters very much, but either Tom or the reader cannot tell whether the truth is being told. Explore what difference it would have made in that instance if the truth had been told.

Essay Topic 3

Unusual deaths and half-dead states haunt the characters of the novel Waterland by Graham Swift. Choose one character whose death or death-like state is traumatizing to the other characters, describe the circumstances of his or her death, and explore the death's lasting effects. Using specifics from the book, argue why those deaths were as important as they were. Analyze how death serves as a theme and as a symbol in the novel and what that theme or symbol implies for Tom Crick's view of history.

(see the answer keys)

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