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. On which holiday does Act 1, Scene 2 take place?

2. What is happening when Lincoln enters Rutledge Tavern to deliver mail?

3. Lincoln tells Josh Speed to give his letter for Mary Todd to Herndon to deliver. How does Josh respond?

4. What is it about politics that Lincoln dislikes?

5. What, besides politics, does Lincoln have on his mind during the scene in the Rutledge Tavern?

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

3. Why is it that debt is always heavy on Lincoln's mind during his early adulthood, covered by 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. Lincoln tries to draw Ann out about her sadness, but she resists. However, he continues. Does this change Ann's perception of Lincoln?

6. 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?

7. 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?

8. In Act 2, Scene 4, Lincoln has a law clerk who is something of a firebrand--he believes deeply in abolition and tries to get Lincoln involved in the public debate. What is Lincoln's response?

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

10. What sentiment does Daniel Webster express in the speech that Lincoln reads in Act 1, Scene 1?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Based on his self-descriptions in the scene set in Springfield with Josh Speed and Bowling Green--"I'm no fighting man," he says--is Lincoln a coward who won't fight for what he believes? How does Lincoln explain his own "cowardice?"

Essay Topic 2

If one of the themes of the play is Lincoln's duty to serve his country, how does the playwright use symbols throughout the play to reinforce that theme?

Essay Topic 3

In their debate, both Lincoln and Stephen Douglas use elaborate metaphors to describe one another--Douglas says Lincoln is adept at inserting a dagger into his opponent's ribs, while Lincoln parries that Douglas keeps 10 daggers in the air at once. Douglas says Lincoln slyly diverts a listener's attention from the real problems of free workers, while Lincoln says Douglas tells an audience whatever it wants to hear. Which man is the more effective speaker, judging from the debate in this play? Support your opinion with examples of both strengths and weaknesses.

(see the answer keys)

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