The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is remembered about Clementis?

In February 1948, Klement Gottwald steps out onto a balcony to address the Czech people below. Because his head is bare and it is cold outside, his associate Clementis gives him his fur hat. Years later, Clementis will be considered a traitor to the country and erased from its collective memory, but his hat will stay on Gottwald's head in the pictures forever.

2. How is the fur hat symbolic?

The fur hat of Clementis is a rebellious item that clings to reminding everyone that Clementis once existed, not allowing his existence to be erased through letters and pictures. His fur hat is a symbol of the fact that he was once there and was once considered an important figure.

3. Where does Mirek stop and why is that problematic?

Mirek stops at an auto repair shop, but the woman in charge of letting him in sniffs impolitely at him because he is famous and everybody knows the government is after him. Regardless, he finally gets in to have his car checked and then continues on his way.

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