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

2. What does Ernest Atkinson's maid Jane Shaw think she saw in the old Atkinson townhouse as the brewery was burning?

3. What does Tom Crick find in the river that he thinks caused the bruise that killed Freddie Parr?

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

5. What did the inquest decide was the cause of Freddie Parr's death?

Short Essay Questions

1. in chapter 44, Tom Crick and his wife Mary return the baby Mary stole to the Safeways store where she found it. What are Tom's fears as they approach the mother of the child and how does the mother react?

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

3. 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?

4. 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?

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

8. 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?

9. In chapter 28, Tom explains why he turned to history and stories as passionately as he did. Why is that?

10. 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?

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

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

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.

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