The plot in this relatively short novel is rather intricate and deals with the misfortunes of a relatively modest man Silas, who is framed for crimes and loses his savings. In the middle of the novel, he rescues a small girl (Eppie) from another tragedy and raises her. Becoming a parent while otherwise childless himself (and not have ever had the chance to have his “masculinity” validated in more usual ways) becomes an existential challenge which he accepts.
I can remember quizzes and I think we had two tests on the novel (just like we did for the Shakespeare). Later we would move on to reading short stories.
I do remember that many of the quiz questions involved Eppie and the lost cache of gold, and some of the other familial relations in the novel. I think that on the final exam there was an essay question concerning stepping up into parenthood. (The teacher was a young male and former football player but quite articulate.) Given the course of my life since then, it sounds a but ironic.
The novel does lend itself to audiobooks. See also Dec. 6, 2012 posts.