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. Who is President of the United States at the time Edwards visits New Salem to meet Lincoln?

2. In Act 2, Scene 4, why is Billy Herndon disappointed with Lincoln?

3. What characteristics make Mary Todd a good catch in the eyes of most people?

4. What is Billy Herndon's reaction to Lincoln's reasons for breaking off the engagement?

5. Who is Ann Rutledge?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. 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?

3. 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?

4. 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?

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

6. Lincoln is reluctant to consider running for State Assembly. What is his main objection?

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. 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?

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. 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

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 2

Ben Mattling, the hard-drinking Revolutionary War veteran in Rutledge's Tavern, tells Lincoln to stay out of politics: "You have no place in that den of thieves that's called government," he says. What is going on in the country (as described or implied in the play) that has so enraged Mattling about government? Why does he think Lincoln is unsuited for elected office?

Essay Topic 3

His visit with Seth Gale in Act 2, Scene 6 has an emotional effect on Lincoln. What did the two men talk about? How did their conversation affect Lincoln?

(see the answer keys)

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