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 Lincoln's response to a poem he reads regarding life and death?

2. Billy Herndon, Lincoln's law clerk, arrives in Act 2, Scene 6. What is his condition?

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

4. In Act 2, Scene 6, Lincoln sits at his desk on the day he is to be married. What day of the year is it?

5. What is the mood of the speech Lincoln is asked to read in the first scene?

Short Essay Questions

1. Ninian Edwards is Lincoln's friend and an admirer, he tells Mary Todd. And yet, he is still unsure what she sees in Lincoln as a potential husband. What does Mary Todd tell her brother-in-law in response to that question?

2. Describe the setting in Act 2, Scene 5 (the parlor of the Edwards' home) and explain what the setting is meant to tell the audience.

3. 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?

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

5. 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?

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

7. 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?

8. 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?

9. Does Lincoln appear to be emotionally stable just after he announces the death of Ann Rutledge?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Ben Mattling, the hard-drinking Revolutionary War veteran in Rutledge's Tavern, tells Lincoln to stay out of politics: "You have no place in that den of thieves that's called government," he says. What is going on in the country (as described or implied in the play) that has so enraged Mattling about government? Why does he think Lincoln is unsuited for elected office?

Essay Topic 2

Before the scene in which Lincoln debates Stephen Douglas, there has been talk about Lincoln's duty to the nation. But most descriptions of that perceived duty came from other characters, not Lincoln. Yet, in the debate with Douglas, Lincoln is very specific about not only his duty, but the duty of all citizens to do what's right for the country. At what point in the play does the audience sense that Lincoln has begun to see the exact shape of his duty? How does he come to define his responsibility? Does the audience (or reader) see his thinking evolve?

Essay Topic 3

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?

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