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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. How many candidates are seeking the presidency?
2. What has Mary Todd been doing while Lincoln entertains his guests?
3. How is the crowd outside receiving voting results?
4. Where does Seth Gale intend to settle his family?
5. What state delivers the final votes needed for Lincoln's victory?
Short Essay Questions
1. A few days after meeting Seth Gale, Abe Lincoln arrives at the home of Mary Todd. She is still single and Abe plans to ask her, again, to marry him. Does the fact that Mary is still single, two years after the broken engagement to Lincoln, indicate anything about her character? Support your answer with your interpretation of the text, both from Act 2, Scene 8 and from earlier episodes in the play.
2. Lincoln, says Douglas in the debate, is stirring up rebellion against authority. What is the danger that Douglas foresees? And what is the solution he proposes?
3. Josh Speed is awaiting Lincoln's visitors, too. He is clearly aware of the tensions between Mary and Abe. How does Speed respond when Mary suggests that Speed, among others, probably thinks of her as a bitter, nagging woman?
4. As he waits for the election results, Lincoln calls the evening a "death watch." What are Lincoln's feelings about winning the election?
5. What is the effect on Lincoln of Gale's idealism, his vow to denounce his American citizenship if the government doesn't ban slavery?
6. Until he was elected, Lincoln was clean-shaven. But, as he heads to Washington to take office, he is bearded. Why did he grow a beard?
7. In Act 2, Scene 7, it has been two years since Lincoln broke off his engagement. He has been drifting since then, but has returned to New Salem in time to meet his old friend, Seth Gale. The Gale family is heading west, to Oregon. Gale has had a hard journey and now his young son is suffering from swamp fever. What does he want from Lincoln at this time?
8. Mary Todd accepts Lincoln's return in Act 2, Scene 8 without much resistance. She extracts a promise from Lincoln that he'll never leave again, then declares her love for him and her determination "to fight by his side" until death parts them. Does Mary Todd truly love Lincoln or is she using him?
9. Lincoln tells Mary Todd that his encounter with Seth Gale a few days earlier was the spur that brought him to her door. What was the decision Lincoln made while visiting with Gale and how does the playwright convey Lincoln's ambivalence about that decision?
10. In his prayer for Seth Gale's son, Lincoln also prays for something else. What is it?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
How does the John Keats poem, "On Death," which Lincoln reads at the end of Scene 1, reflect his personality or philosophy? What does the poem say about life and why does Lincoln seem to agree with it? Does his reaction to Ann Rutledge--later, when she says she can envision falling in love with him--signal a change in his outlook from his initial reaction to the poem?
Essay Topic 2
In their debate, both Lincoln and Stephen Douglas use elaborate metaphors to describe one another--Douglas says Lincoln is adept at inserting a dagger into his opponent's ribs, while Lincoln parries that Douglas keeps 10 daggers in the air at once. Douglas says Lincoln slyly diverts a listener's attention from the real problems of free workers, while Lincoln says Douglas tells an audience whatever it wants to hear. Which man is the more effective speaker, judging from the debate in this play? Support your opinion with examples of both strengths and weaknesses.
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.
This section contains 1,371 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)