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 advice does Josh Speed give Lincoln regarding his mental health?

2. What is the purpose of Edwards' visit to New Salem in Act 1, Scene 2?

3. Besides debt, what topic often occupies Lincoln's mind?

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

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

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. By Act 2, Scene 4, it is clear that Lincoln's friendship with Ninian Edwards (the governor's son) has advanced. What evidence does Lincoln offer of his popularity?

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. According to Act 1, Scene 3, what is the relationship of Lincoln to Nancy and Bowling Green?

5. The informal committee that came to recruit Lincoln to run for State Assembly in Act 1, Scene 2 has a larger political purpose in mind. What is it?

6. Does Lincoln's teacher agree or disagree with the argument Webster makes for maintaining the Union in the speech Lincoln reads in the first scene of the play?

7. 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?

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

9. 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.

10. In Act 2, Scene 5, Elizabeth Edwards and her sister, Mary Todd, have a spirited discussion about Abraham Lincoln and whether he would be a good match for Mary Todd. What does their argument tell the audience about the sisters' personalities?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

While discussing his political philosophy with those who want him to run for office, Lincoln tells them he is "conservative, all right. If I got into the legislature, you'd never catch me starting any movements for reform or progress." Is the playwright making an ironic observation by giving Lincoln that line? Explain your thinking, yes or no, using examples from the play.

Essay Topic 3

Based on the scene in the tavern with Ann Rutledge and later scenes with Mary Todd Lincoln, compare and contrast the personalities of the two women. In your opinion, which woman would have been the best wife for Lincoln? Base your reasons on aspects of their personalities as described in the play. Would Lincoln have become President if he had been married to Ann Rutledge rather than Mary Todd?

(see the answer keys)

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