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 Billy Herndon's attitude toward Mary Todd on the day Lincoln is to be married?

2. Does Lincoln agree, in Act 2, Scene 6, with Josh's suggestion about his mental health?

3. What reason does Lincoln give in Act 2, Scene 4 for turning down the opportunity to speak against slavery?

4. What is Lincoln's initial response to the idea of running for office?

5. What does Lincoln see on the boat from Quincy to Alton that shocks him?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. 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?

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

4. 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.

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

6. 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?

7. 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?

8. 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?

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

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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