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 mesmerized King Canute as he was rowed past Ely?

2. Tom Crick's wife, Mary, has been sent to a mental institution. Why?

3. Who is the patron saint of Gildsey?

4. What is the historical event that Tom Crick keeps returning to over and over again as he explains that history seems to move in a circle?

5. What is the lesson about history that Tom Crick draws from the study of eel mating behavior?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

3. At the end of chapter 47, Tom says that "we all come to out asylums." Where is he when he says this and what does he mean?

4. In chapter 2, a student called Price interrupts Tom Crick, the history teacher, to tell him what about history?

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

6. In chapter 5, what does Tom notice about Freddie Parr's face, and what does he conclude from it?

7. In chapter 50, Harry Crick is bed-ridden in Tom's and Mary's first house in Gildsey. What made him ill?

8. Chapter 26 is a long dissertation by Tom Crick about the mating habits of the eel. Recall three theories about how eels procreate that naturalists have advanced over the millennia.

9. In chapter 22, the role of Ernest Atkinson in the events of Coronation Day is ambiguous. Please describe the events of Coronation Day and why they appear to have happened.

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Throughout the novel Waterland, the narrator Tom Crick uses fairy-tale language like "once upon a time" and references to supernatural beings like ghosts and witches while he recounts history. Using specific examples from the novel, deduce why Tom Crick does so. Discuss why he feels justified in mixing history and fairy tales.

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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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