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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. Asked how he'll feel if he loses, how does Lincoln predict he will feel?
2. How is Lincoln's appearance different from Election Day?
3. How does Mary Todd describe Lincoln's behavior and absence over the previous two years?
4. What is the last line of the play, sung by the crowd?
5. What does Seth Gale's wife want for her sick son, besides the help of a doctor?
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. The cheering crowd chants for Lincoln to make a speech from the back of the railroad car. He begins by naming the problems facing the nation. But he finishes on a note of hope. What outcome is Lincoln hoping to achieve?
3. On Election Day, as the Lincolns wait for voting results, Mary becomes increasingly anxious. Finally, Lincoln suggests she go home to wait. She responds with a surprising outburst. What does she say and why does she feel so strongly?
4. At the beginning of the play's final scene, it's clear that national tension have risen as a result of Lincoln's election. What worries Kavanagh as he waits for the Lincolns to board the train for Washington?
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. While Lincoln asserts that he submits to the will of God, he doesn't belong to any church. What are his objections to organized forms of worship?
7. Almost at the moment he learns of his election, Lincoln's life changes in a way he doesn't like. In the play, who or want is the sign of this change? And which of the play's themes does this change fit into?
8. 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?
9. Stephen Douglas takes the position that "each state should mind its own business," says Lincoln in the debate. It might seem like the safer course, he argues, but there is a danger to following that advice. What is the danger that Lincoln foresees?
10. In Act 3, Scene 10, which takes place in the Lincolns' home, it is clear that the Lincolns' marriage is not happy, or at the least, has problems. Thus far, the play has made clear Mary's part in creating problems. In this scene, the playwright uses a cigar to show that Lincoln isn't an innocent victim in the matter of the marriage. How does the cigar reveal one of Lincoln's faults?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
Mentor Graham, Lincoln's teacher, is discussing the imperative mood. He points out that an imperative is not always a direct or even obvious command, and he has Lincoln read a newspaper account of a speech by Daniel Webster to the U.S. Senate. What is the topic of the speech and what is it that Webster is asking of the Senate? Explain how you know that Webster is using the imperative.
Essay Topic 2
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 3
Based on his self-descriptions in the scene set in Springfield with Josh Speed and Bowling Green--"I'm no fighting man," he says--is Lincoln a coward who won't fight for what he believes? How does Lincoln explain his own "cowardice?"
This section contains 1,552 words
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