Abe Lincoln in Illinois 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. Who is Ninian Edwards?

2. What is a benefit of being in the state capitol that might entice Lincoln to run for office?

3. What does Mary Todd say when asked in Act. 2, Scene 5, if she is considering marriage to Lincoln?

4. According to Josh, how is Lincoln doing in the State Assembly?

5. How does Lincoln surprise Ann Rutledge while she is clearing tables during Act 1, Scene 2?

Short Essay Questions

1. Does Lincoln's teacher agree or disagree with the argument Webster makes for maintaining the Union in the speech Lincoln reads in the first scene of the play?

2. As Lincoln contemplates breaking his engagement, Josh Speeds urges him to wait until he, Lincoln, is feeling calmer. Lincoln responds that he is desperate to have the matter settled. What is Josh Speed's larger concern about Lincoln under the circumstances?

3. Ninian Edwards, Lincoln's friend and brother-in-law of Mary Todd, enters with a gift and a wedding day message to Lincoln. What do the gift and the message tell the audience about Mary Todd?

4. At the beginning of Act 2, Scene 5, Elizabeth Edwards is responding to a bit of news which surprises her--even though she might have seen it coming. What is the news and who brought it to her attention?

5. Josh Speed and Bowling Green are longtime friends of Lincoln's; they have urged him for years to seek higher political office. In Act 2, Scene 4, what is their attitude toward Lincoln's reluctance to run for an important elected position?

6. What is Webster reacting or responding to in the speech Lincoln reads in Act 1, Scene 1?

7. When Josh Speed burns Lincoln's letter to Mary Todd, Lincoln tells him the real reasons he doesn't want to go through with the marriage. What are his real reasons?

8. How desperate is Lincoln and what is the event that seems to have caused his emotional outbreak?

9. Lincoln tries to draw Ann out about her sadness, but she resists. However, he continues. Does this change Ann's perception of Lincoln?

10. In Act 2, Scene 4, Lincoln continues to resist running for any office with more authority than the Electoral College. Why?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The basic form of drama is often defined as a character with a goal, faced with an obstacle to achieving that goal, followed by efforts by the character--helped or hindered by others--to overcome the obstacles and achieve the goal. In the process, the main character often undergoes an emotional or mental change of some sort, or has an insight that allows him/her to succeed. How does the play, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, fit into that skeleton of a dramatic work?

Essay Topic 2

The opening scene of the play features just two characters, Mentor Graham and Abe Lincoln. The scene ranges across a number of topics, touching on national politics, Lincoln's feeling that death might be imminent, and his career prospects.

Using examples from the scene, what does the audience (or reader) learn about Lincoln's personality? Is he outgoing or introverted? Is he optimistic or pessimistic? Does he look at the world from a vantage point of confidence? Does the audience get a sense of his political views? If so, how are they conveyed?

Essay Topic 3

While discussing his political philosophy with those who want him to run for office, Lincoln tells them he is "conservative, all right. If I got into the legislature, you'd never catch me starting any movements for reform or progress." Is the playwright making an ironic observation by giving Lincoln that line? Explain your thinking, yes or no, using examples from the play.

(see the answer keys)

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