84, Charing Cross Road Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Helene Hanff
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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. Who does Helene say she is in her first letter to Marks & Co.?

2. Why does Helene spend her days wearing sweaters and wool slacks?

3. What year is the Volume II of the Works and Life of Sir Walter Savage Landor that is sent to Helene published?

4. How does Frank sign off in most his letters to Helene?

5. What does Cecily imagine Helene to look like?

Short Essay Questions

1. What terms does Helene play "girl etymologist" for Maxine, and explain?

2. What does Helene think of the first books she receives from Marks & Co. versus the books she buys in America?

3. Why does Helene joke with Frank about the British occupation of New York from 1776 through 1783?

4. What mistake is Helene afraid she made by sending a ham in her Christmas package to Marks & Co.?

5. Why is Frank's passion for old books comforting to Helene?

6. What is written in the first letter Helene receives from Marks & Co. bookstore?

7. What prompts Frank's wife Nora to write Helene for the first time?

8. Why does Cecily write to tell Helene that no Christmas package will be necessary in 1953?

9. What does Helene apologize to the London booksellers for on behalf of America?

10. Why does Frank drop the "Miss" in his salutation to Helene in the February 14, 1952 letter?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Helene borders on rudeness in some of her exchanges with Frank. What do you think she intends to convey with this tone? Do you think Frank is ever offended by Helene's letter? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

Helene concludes that she goes through life "watching the English language being raped before me face." What does she mean by this and why does she use a literary reference to Edward Arlington Robinson?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss how the world of books is just as real to Helene as the world in which she lives.

(see the answer keys)

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