Cakes and Ale: Or the Skeleton in the Cupboard Test | Final 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 Isabel claim about the new Mrs. Driffield?

2. What is the landlady's strict policy about fire?

3. What does William notice for the first time about Rosie?

4. What does William think should be abolished?

5. Where does William meet Rosie one day?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does William re-connect with the Driffields?

2. Describe Ted's response to the fact that Rosie leaves him.

3. Who are a couple other regulars at the Driffields' parties?

4. How do Rosie and William begin a romantic involvement?

5. Describe the situation that keeps Rosie occupied for a couple weeks and which infuriates William.

6. What novel does Ted publish which is a ruthlessly unsentimental tale dealing with a child's death, and what is the public's response to the novel?

7. Describe Amy Driffield.

8. What does William think about the House of Lords and how he would assign rank within literature?

9. Describe the Driffields's neighborhood and home.

10. Describe Isabel's work on Ted's behalf.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

William Ashenden is the narrator of the novel, which Maugham chooses to write the novel from the first-person point of view. Discuss the following:

1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this novel being written in the first person?

2. Do you think the novel would be more effective in a different point of view? Which one if so? Why not if you think the first person works the best?

3. If the narrator is actually the author, much of what is written are real events witnessed by the author. Then does the first person make sense from that perspective? What if the book was truly fiction with no ties to "real" people, does the first-person point of view still seem like the best choice? Why or why not.

Essay Topic 2

In Chapter 10, over dinner, the Vicar announces that the Driffields have bolted to London, abandoning their debts. Discuss the following:

1. How do Mary-Ann and Rosie's view of abandoning their debt coincide? Do you agree with their point of view? See chapter 13 for Rosie's point of view about the debt.

2. What do you think it says about the Driffields that they flee debts accrued? Do you think the fact that the debts are in a small town by small merchants changes the morality of it? Why or why not?

3. By the time Ted has been married to Amy for a while, William notes that Amy has reformed him from being a Bohemian. What is a Bohemian? Are Bohemians less reputable than a "normal" person? Would a Bohemian be more likely to abandon his/her debt? Explain your answers.

Essay Topic 3

Though Somerset Maugham denies it, many literary critics and readers think there is a clear resemblance of Ted Driffield to the real-life Thomas Hardy and Roy Kear to Hugh Walpole. Some even say that the narrator, William Ashenden represents Somerset Maugham. Discuss the following:

1. Research the French phrase roman à clef or roman à clé and discuss how that term is applicable to Cakes and Ale.

2. Research the author Thomas Hardy and compare his life to that of Ted Driffield. How are the similar? How are they different? Are the similarities enough to warrant the belief that Roy Kear represents Walpole?

Does Hardy seem to have a Rosie, Amy, or Isabel in his life? What details about Hardy's life that you uncover seem to be the same as what is written about Driffield?

3. Research the author Hugh Walpole and compare his life to that of Roy Kear. How are the similar? How are they different? In what ways to their personalities seem similar? Are the similarities enough to warrant the belief that Roy Kear represents Walpole?

4. Research the author Somerset Maugham and compare his life to that of William Ashenden. How are they similar? How are they different? In what ways to their personalities seem similar? Are the similarities enough to warrant the belief that William Ashenden represents Maugham?

(see the answer keys)

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