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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. What does Lincoln ask Mary Todd in Act 2, Scene 8?
2. What is it about the Gale family's plans that seems most important to Lincoln?
3. What has Lincoln been doing since breaking his engagement to Mary Todd?
4. What happens when Seth Gale's boy takes a turn for the worse before the doctor arrives at the end of Act 2, Scene 7?
5. What does Seth Gale suggest might happen if slavery spreads West to new states and territories?
Short Essay Questions
1. 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?
2. 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.
3. In Act 2, Scene 8, Lincoln apologizes for being a coward. He says he shrank from the marriage because he didn't want or believe in the destiny Mary envisions for him. Now, though, he says he wants to "strive to deserve" her faith. Does the way that Lincoln again asks her to marry him indicate that he loves her or has some other reason for marrying her?
4. 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?
5. 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?
6. In their debate, Lincoln compares Douglas to a woman watching her husband fight for his life with a bear. When asked by her husband for an encouraging word, the woman says, "Go husband. Go bear." What was Lincoln saying about Douglas in that comparison?
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. 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?
9. As he waits for the election results, Lincoln calls the evening a "death watch." What are Lincoln's feelings about winning the election?
10. 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?
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
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?
Essay Topic 3
The basic form of drama is often defined as a character with a goal, faced with an obstacle to achieving that goal, followed by efforts by the character--helped or hindered by others--to overcome the obstacles and achieve the goal. In the process, the main character often undergoes an emotional or mental change of some sort, or has an insight that allows him/her to succeed. How does the play, Abe Lincoln in Illinois, fit into that skeleton of a dramatic work?
This section contains 1,427 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)