Yellow Raft in Blue Water Test Instructions: Write all your answers legibly on a separate sheet of paper.

For questions 1-13, explain the significance of each quote in as much detail as you can. Try to connect each quote to the main themes of the novel. This test is worth 100 points. Each question is worth 6 points, so you can earn a total of 108 points. Be mindful of your time, since this is a long test. If a question is too hard, skip it and go on to the next one. 1. 2. 3. “My skirt is too short and keeps riding up on my thighs.” (1) “I dated a guy who played an Indian in that movie.” (24) “The ground seemed to me the most disgusting thing in the world. It makes my skin crawl. I drop to my knees, surrounded by our blowing junk, and pull weeds out by their roots, scratch them out with my fingernails. I must make the soil smooth, even, without bristles. No matter how much I pull there’s more. I will never clean it all, and yet I can’t stop.” (32) “In my dream I move with him, pin him to me with my strong arms, search for his face with my mouth.” (61) “She turns her face in my direction and I pull back, even though from where I stand I have to be invisible. I’m afraid to see anything more, to see anything wrong, something out of place, something to ruin the picture. But when at last I raise my eyes, there’s nothing but her, framed by the lake and the sky. In that moment she’s everything I’m not but ought to be.” (89) “Somewhere in my mind I’ve decided that if I stare at it hard enough it will launch me out of my present troubles. If I squint a certain way, it appears to be a lighted trapdoor, flush against a black floor. With my eyes closed almost completely, it becomes a kind of bull’s eye, and I’m an arrow banging into it head-first.” (104) “I was connected to a power I never knew existed, and without it I’m unplugged. On Babe, I would have burned out my circuits rather than choose safety. Up there, my only worry was gravity.” (120) “I had a flash of feeling for Elgin, a surge of wanting him to hold me in his big hands, a picture of the three of us, mother, father, and daughter, smiling on a Christmas card.” (197) “I saw myself through his eyes. I was that mean, fat woman.” (192)

4. 5.

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7. 8. 9.

10. “In my mind I molded myself into her shape, imagined that her features became my own, her delicate nose, her round face, her slanted eyes. I imagined greeting Willard on his return with this face, imagined the delight of his pleasure, the clasp of his hand.” (304) 11. “He remained nameless, without identifying marks, any man, every man. Each nun was free to see him with her own eye, in her own memory, in her own appallment.” (314) 12. “I saw her as I never wanted to see her, as what she was: moon-faced, whining, puny-limbed. My spine jerked as if awakened from a sound sleep.” (319) 13. “As a man with cut hair, he did not identify the rhythm of three strands, the whispers of coming and going, of twisting and tying and blending, of catching and letting go, of braiding.” (372) 14. Explain the connection between the yellow raft and the rodeo. 15. Explain the significance of Rayona Taylor’s name. 16. Why did Rayona keep the letter she found in the park and why did she finally throw it away? 17. Give an example of one mystery that was solved when we read about the mysterious incident from a new perspective. 18. Why does Ida make Christine call her “Aunt Ida”?

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themes: imperfection/perfection (Ellen DeMarco, Clara, Ray’s desire for perfect family, Christine’s desire for Christmas-card family, Lecon’s desire to act like a perfect family) ground (p32)/sky/water – “land of sky-blue waters” fit (Rayona, Ida doesn’t fit in clothes) authenticity – Father Tom (tourist bait medallion), cartoon Indians, guy who played an Indian imitation, acting, role-playing TV rodeo fantasy/escape shifting perspectives mystery realm of the imagination – closed eyes, omitted details – constructing memory is a creative and imaginative process – parts are invented! loneliness, looking for love “My skirt is too short and keeps riding up on my thighs.” (1) “We play solitaire…” (1) “I dated a guy who played an Indian in that movie.” (24) “The ground seemed to me the most disgusting thing in the world. It makes my skin crawl. I drop to my knees, surrounded by our blowing junk, and pull weeds out by their roots, scratch them out with my fingernails. I must make the soil smooth, even, without bristles. No matter how much I pull there’s more. I will never clean it all, and yet I can’t stop.” (32) “In my dream I move with him, pin him to me with my strong arms, search for his face with my mouth.” (61) “She turns her face in my direction and I pull back, even though from where I stand I have to be invisible. I’m afraid to see anything more, to see anything wrong, something out of place, something to ruin the picture. But when at last I raise my eyes, there’s nothing but her, framed by the lake and the sky. In that moment she’s everything I’m not but ought to be.” (89) “Somewhere in my mind I’ve decided that if I stare at it hard enough it will launch me out of my present troubles. If I squint a certain way, it appears to be a lighted trapdoor, flush against a black floor. With my eyes closed almost completely, it becomes a kind of bull’s eye, and I’m an arrow banging into it head-first.” (104) “I was connected to a power I never knew existed, and without it I’m unplugged. On Babe, I would have burned out my circuits rather than choose safety. Up there, my only worry was gravity.” (120) “I had a flash of feeling for Elgin, a surge of wanting him to hold me in his big hands, a picture of the three of us, mother, father, and daughter, smiling on a Christmas card.” (197) “I saw myself through his eyes. I was that mean, fat woman.” (192) “In my mind I molded myself into her shape, imagined that her features became my own, her delicate nose, her round face, her slanted eyes. I imagined greeting Willard on his return with this face, imagined the delight of his pleasure, the clasp of his hand.” (304) “He remained nameless, without identifying marks, any man, every man. Each nun was free to see him with her own eye, in her own memory, in her own appallment.” (314) “I saw her as I never wanted to see her, as what she was: moon-faced, whining, puny-limbed. My spine jerked as if awakened from a sound sleep.” (319) “As a man with cut hair, he did not identify the rhythm of three strands, the whispers of coming and going, of twisting and tying and blending, of catching and letting go, of braiding.” (372) Explain the connection between the yellow raft and the rodeo. Explain the significance of Rayona’s name. Why did Rayona keep the letter she found in the park and why did she finally throw it away? Rayona and Ida both idolize and imitate someone else. Who do they idolize and why? Give an example of one mystery that was solved when we read about the mysterious incident from a new perspective. Why does Ida make Christine call her “Aunt Ida”? Explain the role of imagination in constructing memory.

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