Cosmicomics 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 do the characters use to climb up to the moon?

2. How old is Pfwfp, compared to Qfwfq?

3. What does Qwfwq find when he finally reaches the point that contained his sign?

4. How does Qfwfq get Ayl to come with him?

5. What does Qfwfq do when he starts to forget what his sign looks like?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Qfwfq say that the sign is more important than its function of marking a place?

2. What argument does Qfwfq give that the Z'zus could not be properly described as immigrants?

3. When Qfwfq's father says they are hitting something, why doesn't Qfwfq understand what he means?

4. How is Qfwfq and Pfwfp's final game resolved?

5. Describe what Qfwfq thinks as he nears the end of the first galactic revolution and believes he's about to see his sign again.

6. How does Pfwfp disguise new atoms as old ones?

7. How is the sign like a name?

8. What are Ayl and Qfwfq's attitudes toward difference and sameness?

9. What skills does the Deaf One have that make it easiest for him to climb up to the moon?

10. How is the food that the characters collect from the moon made?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In COSMICOMICS, the characters exist over enormous periods of time, while astronomical events take place in the formation of the universe. Discuss the role of time in COSMICOMICS.

1) What role does time play in communication in "The Light-Years"? How does time affect the separation between individuals?

2) What is the role of time in "The Dinosaurs"? How does time change perception?

3) What is the effect of passing time on the characters? How does passing time affect older characters like Qfwfq's uncle in "The Aquatic Uncle," and his grandmother in "At Daybreak"?

4) What is the effect of astronomical lengths of time in the stories? How does the passage of astronomical lengths of time affect the betting in "How Much Shall We Bet?" and Qfwfq in "A Sign in Space"? How do the astronomical lengths of time in the novel affect the reader's understanding of Qfwfq?

Essay Topic 2

COSMICOMICS deals with the divisions that exist between the self and others, and the relationship of one's inner self to the society of others outside one's self. Discuss the dichotomy between self and others in COSMICOMICS.

1) How are the characters in "All at One Point" separate from each other and yet unified? What role does the separation between self and others have in quibbling and pettiness? What role does the unification of separate individuals play in the expansion of the point at the end of the story?

2) In "Games without End," how is Pfwfp a reflection of Qfwfq? In what other stories are "others" a reflection of the narrator's self, and to what extent?

3) How are relatives, who share history and genetic makeup, a part of the characters in the story and in some ways an extension of the self?

Essay Topic 3

In science, future events are predicable, based on physical laws. From this standpoint of predictable physical laws, it's possible to argue that with enough information, every aspect of the world is fated and predictable. Explain the role that fate and predictability plays in COSMICOMICS and Calvino's point of view on predetermination.

1) How are physical events of the universe predictable in Calvino's stories, such as "How Much Shall We Bet?" and "Games without End"? How are characters in tune with nature and able to predict what will happen, including Qfwfq and the Deaf One, in various stories?

2) How predictable is human nature in Calvino's stories? What elements make human choice less predictable than physical laws?

3) What is Calvino's point of view on predetermination? Are the characters' lives fated, much as the formation of stars is fated?

(see the answer keys)

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