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 attitude about people before he meets Ann Rutledge?

2. What is the local gossip in New Salem about Ann Rutledge?

3. Who does Lincoln blame for all the political strife in the country?

4. What is Bowling Green's attitude toward the possibility of Lincoln marrying Ann Rutledge?

5. When Lincoln arrives at the Edwards' home in Act 2, Scene 5, does he sense tension between Mary Todd and her sister?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

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

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. 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?

6. 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?

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

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. Why does Lincoln decide to run for office after talking to Ann, at the end of Act 1, Scene 2? Did she encourage him?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

From the opening scene, Lincoln is preoccupied with the specter of premature death. Even as he bids farewell to the people of Springfield, he seems melancholy and doubtful that he will ever return to the town. Trace the line of Lincoln's fatalism through the play. Explain its origins and describe what effect, if any, it had on Lincoln's initial reluctance to take a step onto the national stage.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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?"

(see the answer keys)

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