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. Why is Ann's death such a setback to Lincoln?

2. Why is Mary Todd so sure that Lincoln will be a success, and not stop to tell jokes, as her sister predicts?

3. Who does Ninian Edwards believe might be instigating the prospect of marriage between Abe Lincoln and Mary Todd?

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

5. What does Ann's love do for Lincoln?

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

3. 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?

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

5. 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?

6. How desperate is Lincoln and what is the event that seems to have caused his emotional outbreak?

7. 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?

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

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

This play, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, can be viewed as the opening scene of the larger drama of Lincoln's presidency. Many of its themes--his preoccupation with an early death, his sense of duty, his melancholy and self-doubt--will continue through the rest of his life. What new or little-known information about Lincoln, or insights about well-known facts, does the play present that might affect a person's perception of the Civil War President?

Essay Topic 2

The opening scene of the play features just two characters, Mentor Graham and Abe Lincoln. The scene ranges across a number of topics, touching on national politics, Lincoln's feeling that death might be imminent, and his career prospects.

Using examples from the scene, what does the audience (or reader) learn about Lincoln's personality? Is he outgoing or introverted? Is he optimistic or pessimistic? Does he look at the world from a vantage point of confidence? Does the audience get a sense of his political views? If so, how are they conveyed?

Essay Topic 3

Seth Gale and his family are moving West, accompanied by Gobey, a free negro who works for them. What route West does Gale choose? What was happening in the nation that caused him to choose that route and to want to settle in Oregon?

(see the answer keys)

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