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 Act 2, Scene 5, does Lincoln ask Mary Todd to marry him?

2. What is Lincoln studying in the opening scene?

3. Billy Herndon, Lincoln's law clerk, arrives in Act 2, Scene 6. What is his condition?

4. What is happening when Lincoln enters Rutledge Tavern to deliver mail?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

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. 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?

4. What is Josh Speed's opinion of Lincoln's personality and prospects, now that Lincoln is in the State Assembly?

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

6. When Josh Speed burns Lincoln's letter to Mary Todd, Lincoln tells him the real reasons he doesn't want to go through with the marriage. What are his real reasons?

7. 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?

8. Does Lincoln appear to be emotionally stable just after he announces the death of Ann Rutledge?

9. 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?

10. What is Ann Rutledge's mood when she enters to clear the glasses of the men who have left the tavern in Act 1, Scene 2? Why is she feeling that way?

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

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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