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. How does Mary Todd characterize the life her sister and brother-in-law have chosen?

2. How does Lincoln jokingly describe, in Act 2, Scene 5, the act of defending a murder suspect?

3. In a poem that Lincoln reads in the first scene, what is it that the poet finds strange about people?

4. What is Lincoln studying in the opening scene?

5. What excuse does Ninian Edwards give for getting himself and his wife out of the parlor so Lincoln can be alone with Mary Todd?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is Josh Speed's opinion of Lincoln's personality and prospects, now that Lincoln is in the State Assembly?

2. 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?

3. At the end of Act 2, Scene 4, Lincoln is about to attend an event that will change his life. Where is he going and what is going to happen there?

4. Nancy Green and Bowling Green have a disagreement about whether Ann Rutledge is good for Lincoln. What are their respective opinions?

5. What is Ann Rutledge's mood when she enters to clear the glasses of the men who have left the tavern in Act 1, Scene 2? Why is she feeling that way?

6. 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?

7. William Herndon reacts vehemently to Lincoln's denunciation of Mary Todd's ambitions for Lincoln. What does Herndon, who is somewhat drunk, tell Lincoln?

8. In Act 2, Scene 6, Lincoln decides to jilt Mary Todd on their wedding day. He plans to inform her in a long letter--a plan to which Josh Speed objects. Why does Speed object? In his mind, what does Lincoln's plan say about Lincoln as a man?

9. By Act 2, Scene 4, it is clear that Lincoln's friendship with Ninian Edwards (the governor's son) has advanced. What evidence does Lincoln offer of his popularity?

10. Act 1, Scene 2 portrays Lincoln's first step toward a political destiny. The audience (or reader) knows that Lincoln will become one of the country's great Presidents. What symbols does the author use in this scene to heighten that feeling of political destiny?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

His visit with Seth Gale in Act 2, Scene 6 has an emotional effect on Lincoln. What did the two men talk about? How did their conversation affect Lincoln?

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Based on the scene in the tavern with Ann Rutledge and later scenes with Mary Todd Lincoln, compare and contrast the personalities of the two women. In your opinion, which woman would have been the best wife for Lincoln? Base your reasons on aspects of their personalities as described in the play. Would Lincoln have become President if he had been married to Ann Rutledge rather than Mary Todd?

(see the answer keys)

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