The Bonfire of the Vanities Test | Final 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 does Sherman McCoy throw out of his condo at the end of the chapter?

2. Where do Maria and Sherman meet to talk in Chapter 29?

3. Why does Maria lash out at Sherman at the end of their meeting?

4. What makes Larry Kramer intensely nervous on his second date with Shelly Thomas?

5. What important piece of information does Kovitsky neglect to mention in his dismissal of the McCoy indictment?

Short Essay Questions

1. What high-minded reasoning does Weiss give for his prosecution of Sherman McCoy in Chapter 23?

2. Describe the scene at the Criminal Court at the end of Chapter 31.

3. What does Fallow see at the funeral?

4. What is Tommy Killian and Quigley's plan to get proof of Maria's complicity in the hit-and-run?

5. Describe Lopwitz's reaction to the news of Sherman's arrest and what it means to Sherman.

6. What information do Martin's two crack dealers offer regarding the McCoy case?

7. In what way does Shelly Thomas disagree with Kramer about the McCoy case?

8. Which of Killian's promises are broken during his arrest?

9. What aspects of Sherman McCoy's life are disrupted by the Henry Lamb case?

10. How does the information of Maria Ruskin's complicity in the hit-and-run eventually reach Peter Fallow?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Using the Epilogue as a frame, write an essay about the moral vacuum of Bonfire of the Vanities. Wolfe has created a world where the only way to survive is dogged self-interest and exploitation of others. Choose three characters whose fates are discussed in the epilogue and use their character arcs to show how honesty and high-mindedness does not pay off in the end.

Essay Topic 2

One of the reasons that Bonfire of the Vanities is regarded as such an acerbic satire is the way characters unabashedly relate to each other in terms of race. Wolfe tends to associate certain qualities with certain ethnic groups. Write an essay about the fraternity of the following three races. What major characters in the novel are of this ethnicity? What do they have in common? What do you think Wolfe is saying about this racial group?

Part 1) WASP

Part 2) Jewish

Part 3) Irish

Essay Topic 3

Abe Weiss is in many respects the driving force behind all the action of the novel. Write an essay about Abe Weiss and how the plot is a vehicle for his actions. What does he ultimately want? How does the Henry Lamb case become important to that objective? What measures does Abe Weiss take to achieve this objective through Kramer, Sherman, and Fallow?

(see the answer keys)

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