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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 Lll do after N'ba N'ga says that he could teach her to live in the water?
2. How does the narrator feel about the female he comes to notice?
3. Where is a dinosaur body uncovered?
4. Why is the narrator certain Ursula H'x and Lieutenant Fenimore can't meet?
5. What sign does the narrator read that at first he's happy about, but later is disappointed by?
Short Essay Questions
1. How does the narrator describe being with Ursula H'x when their routes intersect?
2. What happens to the initial wealth that Qfwfq builds up?
3. When does the narrator suppose that he might finally meet Ursula, and what does he fear about that potential meeting?
4. Describe the problems with the advice N'ba N'ga gives his family.
5. Describe N'ba N'ga's objections to living on land.
6. What does Qfwfq do with the body of the dinosaur the New Ones find?
7. What gives Qfwfq an advantage over Dean (k)yK when they bet during the early evolution of the universe?
8. What causes the narrator's suspicions about the female he encounters?
9. How do the New Ones' perception of dinosaurs change over the time Qfwfq is with them?
10. Why does the narrator get an enormous sign of a hand with a pointing finger?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
Calvino's stories often center around signs and symbols. Discuss the role of signs and symbols in COSMICOMICS.
1) Discuss signs in "A Sign in Space." What is Qfwfq's first sign meant to represent? How does its meaning and function change over the course of the story? What does the story say about the nature of signs?
2) Discuss signs in "The Light-Years." How do the signs in "The Light-Years" compare to those in "A Sign in Space"? What is the function of signs? What problems do signs present?
3) What signs and symbols appear in other stories? How do the characters use signs and symbols and interpret them?
Essay Topic 2
The characters in COSMICOMICS have strange names which use symbols not normally found in names. Discuss the characters' names in COSMICOMICS.
1) Why are the names of Qfwfq's rivals Pfwfp and Kgwgk so similar to Qfwfq's name?
2) Why do the characters have unpronounceable names, with mathematical symbols and numbers in them? What affect do the strange names have on the reader? How do the names relate to the scientific subject matter of the stories? How do the names relate to the fantasy elements of the stories?
Essay Topic 3
Because the stories in COSMICOMICS discuss the natural world examined by science, they address mankind's relationship to the natural world. Discuss the relationship between man and the natural world in COSMICOMICS.
1) What is the relationship between the world of mankind and the natural world of the mollusk in "The Spiral"?
2) How is mankind related to the evolution of the universe? How does life on Earth contrast with the natural world before life developed?
3) How do natural forces like evolution and changes in the universe affect characters in the stories?
This section contains 977 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)