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 is revealed?

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

3. What is Kundera hired to write for a political magazine?

4. What does Marketa tell her mother-in-law?

5. What year is it when the book opens?

Short Essay Questions

1. What happens that embarrasses Mama?

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

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

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. What is remembered about Clementis?

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

7. How does Kundera's loss of his friends in the dancing circle affect him later?

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

9. What is Zdena response to Mirek's request for his letters and do you think she is being fair to Mirek?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Kundera's book is not so much a book of actions, but one of thought. Discuss one of the following:

1. Discuss the theme of forgetting as it occurs in two of the parts other than Part 1 and 4. Use specific examples to support a thesis.

2. Compare and contrast the idea of forgetting in Part 1 compared to Part 4.

3. Argue one side or the other of this statement: Kundera believes forgetting can be a valuable tool for healing.

Essay Topic 2

In part 5, "Litost," a student at the Writer's Club states that only a poet can understand the value of what he writes and others may never get it at all. Discuss the following:

1. What is the purpose of poetry if not to communicate to others?

2. Do you think the above statement only applies to poetry? Why or why not?

3. If no one can understand the value of something one writes, is it worth writing it? Why or why not?

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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