The Book of Laughter and Forgetting Test | Mid-Book 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. How do Marketa and Eva get along at first?

2. Where does Mirek arrive?

3. How do Karel and Eva conspire?

4. What does Marketa not know about Eva and Karel?

5. Who wrote RHINOCEROS?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who is Mirek going to visit and why?

2. How does Marketa's feelings towards her mother-in-law change over time?

3. Why does Kundera quit dancing and what does he imagine about the dancing? Of what do you think his imagining about the dancing is symbolic?

4. What is remembered about Clementis?

5. What are Michelle and Gabrielle doing and what is their response?

6. What does this Kundera say about our collective past?

7. What is the larger meaning of the letters which Mirek is supposedly seeking to have back?

8. What happens when Karel receives a phone call and how is the outcome ironic?

9. What situation in Kundera's personal past does he discuss after writing about laughter?

10. What does Kundera say about laughter in response to Michelle and Gabrielle's laughter?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Part 1, the narrator says that Mirek has always been ashamed of Zdena for the simple fact that she is ugly. Much of this book deals with sexual relationships. Discuss one of the following:

1. Do you think Mirek's attitude about a woman's attractiveness is fairly universal? Why or why not? Discuss his attitude and then expand on that.

2. What do you think is the basis of the relationship between Marketa and Karel? Do you think they have a fairly "typical" relationship?

3. Do men base relationships on different criteria than women? Use examples from the book and your personal knowledge.

Essay Topic 2

In Part 3, "The Angels," laughter is discussed and analyzed at great length. Discuss the following:

1. Compare and contrast the different types of laughter discussed in Part III.

2. Which types of laughter could be labeled "good" or "uplifting"? Explain.

3. Which types of laughter could be labeled "bad" or "harmful"? Explain fully.

Essay Topic 3

In Part 6, Kundera remarks that like Beethoven's final acts, his book is a novel on variations. It is a number of voyages leading into and through one theme. Discuss the following:

1. What is the one theme of this novel?

2. Explain the variations of the theme giving specific examples.

3. Do you think there are other themes besides the one Kundera has in mind? What are they? Explain.

(see the answer keys)

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