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. What does Mama start to doubt?

2. What happens when Mirek leaves Zdena's place?

3. What does Kundera have the urge to do?

4. What do the members of the ring do?

5. What does Zdena urge Mirek to do?

Short Essay Questions

1. What do Kundera and other students do around 1948 and why? Do you think Kundera is speaking metaphorically or actuality.

2. How does Marketa meet Eva and how does the relationship evolve to include Karel?

3. What does Marketa contemplate doing with Eva near the end of the chapter?

4. 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?

5. Why do you think Kundera agrees to write an astrology column?

6. What is it that Marketa does not know about Eva and do you think Marketa would care at this point if she learned this?

7. How is the fur hat symbolic?

8. How would the relationship between Marketa and Karel change if Marketa cheats on him with Eva and her husband?

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

10. What is the difference between how Mama views memory versus how Karel and Marketa do?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Part 1, the concept of lost letters and their connection to a person's past is an important theme to the novel, as well as a strong foreshadowing of what is to transpire between Tamina and other characters in the novel. Choose one of the following to discuss:

1. Discuss the way the letters represent a power struggle between Mirek and Zdena and what one of them loses who lose the power struggle.

2. Discuss how the letters Mirek seeks from Zdena are unimportant compared to the letters the police find at his house. What are the implications about Mirek and the choices he makes concerning the letters? Is Mirek irresponsible?

3. Discuss how the trip for Mirek to recover his letters from Zdena is a reflection of the larger pursuit that the main character Tamina will undertake in future chapters.

Essay Topic 2

In Part 3, "The Angels," it says that in 1948, Kundera was involved in the political parties of his time and "danced in a ring." Then he is asked to leave the ring for saying the wrong thing. Kundera watches the dancing with envy and in his recollection, Eluard stands in a ring with other students eventually dancing their way into the sky as they float away, happily, above Kundera's head. Discuss the following:

1. What do you think is the connection between being involved in political parties and dancing in a ring?

2. Is the ring a metaphor for belonging? Explain.

3. What do you think Kundera means when he says the students eventually dance their way into the sky as they float away, happily, above Kundera's head?

Essay Topic 3

In Part 5, Litost, Kundera introduces us to the concept of litost, which is a Czech word that means a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one's own misery.

1. Explain more fully the concept of litost and give five examples of litost from throughout the book.

2. Though litost is a Czech word, do you think people in other countries experience litost?

3. Do you think litost is necessary to be a great poet and/or philosopher? Why or why not?

4. What do you think litost is called in the English language?

(see the answer keys)

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