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. What is Josh Speed's understanding of Lincoln's personality?

2. What does Mary Todd tell her brother-in-law when he asks why she has chosen him as a husband?

3. Who is Elizabeth Edwards?

4. When Lincoln arrives at the Edwards' home in Act 2, Scene 5, does he sense tension between Mary Todd and her sister?

5. How does Lincoln feel after Ann's death?

Short Essay Questions

1. Act 2, Scene 5 is fairly brief, with a heated discussion between Mary Todd and her sister and brother-in-law. While the characters talk about the possibility of Mary Todd marrying Lincoln, the proposal doesn't actually take place. What purpose does the scene serve?

2. Josh Speed arrives to visit with Abe at the Greens' house. When Lincoln isn't there, Speed fills them in on Lincoln's activities in the State Assembly. What has Lincoln accomplished in the year since he's been elected?

3. Is Lincoln liked or disliked in the community of New Salem, according to his teacher in Act 1, Scene 1?

4. How does Mary Todd characterize the man her sister married and the life they have together? And what is wrong with that life, according to Mary Todd?

5. Why is it that debt is always heavy on Lincoln's mind during his early adulthood, covered by Act 1, Scene 1?

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

7. What is Lincoln's feeling about his career prospects as a young adult studying English in New Salem?

8. What does Lincoln tell his friends in Act 2, Scene 4, in the discussion about his lack of political ambition and his unwillingness to speak publicly against slavery?

9. 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?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Shortly after meeting with Seth Gale and discussing the future of the country with Gale, Lincoln visits Mary Todd at home and they agree to marry. What role did Mary Todd play in Lincoln's successes? Would he have been elected President without her? Support your thesis with examples from the play.

Essay Topic 2

The trouble with politics, Lincoln says, is that "you go into politics and you may get elected...And if you get elected, you've got to go to the city. I don't want none of that."

Mentor Graham--and later, local political leaders--talk about Lincoln's fitness for political office, but there is a paradox in Lincoln's personality. What is it about Lincoln that his friends and teachers think makes him a good candidate (use examples from the play)? What is it about his personality that would seem to contradict their view of him?

Essay Topic 3

Mary Todd is a determined woman, according to her depiction in the play. She settles on Lincoln as a husband over the objections of her sister and even takes him back after he jilts her and is out of touch for several years. Meanwhile, his words and demeanor suggest that Lincoln might have had other motives than love in wanting to join his destiny with Mary's. After 18 years, they do not seem happily married and, when he is elected, they argue. Besides love, what were Lincoln's motives in marrying Mary Todd? What were her motives for agreeing? Was their decision to marry good or bad? Support your opinion with examples from the play.

(see the answer keys)

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