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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. Where is quarantine located?
2. Why does the Doctor think his Wife has gone blind when he wakes up?
3. What does the First Man see after he goes blind?
4. What has run out by the end of the chapter?
5. With what item does the First Man cut himself?
Short Essay Questions
1. What appears to be the pattern for the spread of blindness in the novel?
2. What is the Doctor's conclusion about the origin of his blindness?
3. What insights does the Doctor's Wife have about the society of blind people in quarantine in the beginning of Chapter 5?
4. What is the Doctor's Wife's reaction to her husbands hypothesis about his blindness?
5. Describe the Girl with Dark Glasses' attitude toward her work.
6. What is the government's plan for dealing with the outbreak at the end of Chapter 3?
7. What news does the Minister of Health have for the Doctor when he calls back?
8. How does the Thief suffer an injury?
9. What services will the government offer the quarantined inmates, according to the announcement?
10. Describe the final moments of the Thief's life.
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
Discuss the use of violence in the novel. Is it seen as a purely evil force, or is its function in the novel more ambiguous? Why is it presented in such graphic detail? Write about each of the following violent episodes:
1. The gang-rape of the first ward women by the Thugs.
2. The murder of the Leader of the Thugs by the Doctor's Wife.
3. The burning down of the asylum.
Essay Topic 2
The character of the Thief dominates much of the beginning of the novel, but he is the first internee to die. Choose one of the following questions about the Thief to answer in essay form:
1.) The Thief - in his last moments - privately contends that he is not dying because of any sin he has committed, but because he helped the First Man after he went blind. Do you agree with this? Defend your position, citing evidence in the novel.
2.) The Thief is an anarchist force when he enters quarantine. He quarrels regularly, fights movement to organize, and declares that at last he is equal to those around him. To what extent does he represent the antithesis of the Thugs that will arrive after his death?
Essay Topic 3
Jose Saramago's narrative voice is unique in its familiarity with the reader and its presentation of the story in a colloquial, conversational format, one that forgoes many of the standards of traditional novel writing:
Part 1) Discuss the effect of Saramago's frequent use of the first person plural - we - to engage the reader as a confidante of sorts. How does this alter the traditional relationship between the third-person omniscient narrator and the reader?
Part 2) Examine Saramago's frequent usage of hypothetical situations - such as that of the Chronicler walking out among the desperate hordes of the other wards - and allusion to proverbs. What purpose do these devices serve in the narrator's dissection of events?
Part 3) Why do you believe that Saramago uses no quotation marks and generally embeds his dialogue into large paragraphs rather than breaking it up?
This section contains 866 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)