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 one of the books Tom Crick reads that he finds in the trove of books collected by his great-aunts Louisa and Dora?

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

3. What does Tom Crick think the French really celebrate on Bastille Day when they mark the beginning of the French Revolution?

4. What does Ernest Atkinson, Tom's grandfather, do that marks the beginning of a long list of scandalous behavior?

5. What does Dick do when he finds the bottle?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Chapter 51 is titled "About Phlegm." What is the significance of phlegm for the novel?

3. Chapter 36 is titled "About Nothing." What is the "nothing" that Tom refers to?

4. 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?

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

6. 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?

7. 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?

8. In chapter 50, Harry Crick spends a lot of time thinking about the significance of the bed he is lying in. What is his conclusion?

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

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

A central tenet of Graham Swift's novel Waterland is that history has something circular about it. Using specifics from the novel, examine one example from the story that supports that idea. Explain the impact that circular nature of history has on how the novel unfolds. Analyze whether the narrator, Tom Crick, is projecting his own theory onto the story in this regard and why he might want to do so. Support your opinion with specific references from the book that show what sort of person Tom is and what his agenda might be.

Essay Topic 2

One major conflict in Graham Swift's novel Waterland is the one between the narrator, Tom Crick, and the headmaster of the school where Tom teaches, Lewis Scott. Using specific examples from the book, show what the four root causes of that conflict are--a conflict about personality, a conflict about the school's reputation, a conflict about teaching style, and a conflict about the usefulness of teaching history. Analyze the differing visions of the future that Tom and the headmaster seem to harbor and the implications of each of those visions for the future of society.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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