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

2. Who is the patron saint of Gildsey?

3. What competition does Mary demand the boys take part in before she takes off her last piece of clothing for the winner?

4. Johannes Schmidt, whose theory about eels and their mating habits is considered the most accurate one, thought that eels mate where?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Chapter 39 is about Mary's reaction to her pregnancy and to Tom's joy about it. What does Tom find her doing and what is the reason she gives?

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

3. 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?

4. In chapter 4, what is the reasoning the headmaster Lewis Scott gives Tom Crick for laying Tom off and merging history with General Studies?

5. In chapter 35, Tom Crick returns home from a day of teaching to find Mary has done what?

6. In chapter 29, Tom comes up with a way to test whether Dick killed Freddie Parr. What does he do to provoke a reaction from Dick? What reaction does he get?

7. 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?

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. In chapter 25, Tom Crick gauges the reaction of his students at his racy revelations. What does he observe about rebellion in this context?

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

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

During his history lessons, the narrator of Graham Swift's novel Waterland, Tom Crick, stops teaching directly about the French Revolution and instead begins to tell stories about the Fenlands and about his family history. Giving specific examples from the book, explain why Tom Crick does this and what he wants to convey about the meaning of history by employing that tactic.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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