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. In Scene 2, Act 4, what office is Lincoln seeking?

2. What is Lincoln's response to a poem he reads regarding life and death?

3. How does Lincoln jokingly describe, in Act 2, Scene 5, the act of defending a murder suspect?

4. What does Lincoln's teacher suggest Lincoln do to improve his life?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. As Lincoln contemplates breaking his engagement, Josh Speeds urges him to wait until he, Lincoln, is feeling calmer. Lincoln responds that he is desperate to have the matter settled. What is Josh Speed's larger concern about Lincoln under the circumstances?

3. 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?

4. What is Webster reacting or responding to in the speech Lincoln reads in Act 1, Scene 1?

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

6. Why is it that debt is always heavy on Lincoln's mind during his early adulthood, covered by Act 1, Scene 1?

7. 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.

8. How does Nancy Green describe Lincoln's fear of falling in love in Act 1, Scene 3?

9. 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?

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

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

Early on, Lincoln tells his backers that--if he does decide to seek elected office--they won't find him arguing for change or progress or revolution. He continues to hold to this conservatism now that he is a lawyer--he describes himself as someone who "keeps his mouth shut and abides by the Constitution." How does Lincoln explain his aversion to getting involved and arguing for change in which he believes?

Essay Topic 3

In Springfield, Lincoln has a law practice and a reputation as a powerful speaker. He has been invited to address the Elijah P. Lovejoy League of Freeman on the subject of abolition. Lincoln has been shocked by the sight of chained slaves being taken to market, but he refuses to give a speech to the League. Using examples from the play, explain this apparent contradiction.

(see the answer keys)

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