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 Kundera hired to write for a political magazine?

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

3. Who does Karel picture in his mind when he, Marketa and Eva are together later?

4. After leaving the ring, what does Kundera do?

5. What is Klement Gottwald doing?

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

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

4. What is the meaning of laughter in part 3?

5. What happens when Mirek arrives back home and how is this somewhat ironic?

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

7. Why do you think Marketa asks Eva to pretend she is Marketa's cousin?

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

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

10. 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?

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 4, Kundera describes graphomania, which is the obsessive drive to write a book. In order for this condition to exist, the people in the society must have an elevated sense of well-being, an absence of dramatic events in their life and a general isolation between individuals. Discuss the following:

1. Research the term graphomania and explain it fully.

2. Do you think all writers suffer from graphomania?

3. From what compulsion do writers that do not come from countries with the conditions listed above write?

4. Do you think Kundera suffers from graphomania?

Essay Topic 3

In Part 4, Tamina first asks Bibi and then Hugo to retrieve her letters from Prague. Discuss the following:

1. Why do you think Tamina does not go retrieve the letters herself? Explain fully with details from the text.

2. In relying upon others to get the letters, Tamina surrenders her personal power over her life. Do you think she is capable of assuming power over her own life?

3. How is living in the past another way of surrendering her personal power?

(see the answer keys)

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