Cosmicomics Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does Ursula H'x do as she falls?

2. Which of the following impossible fantasies does the narrator have in his shapeless form?

3. What does N'ba N'ga say his relatives get from living on land?

4. What sign does the narrator see, when he looks up in anticipation of a reaction to the second event, of which he is proud?

5. Why is Lll more agile than Qfwfq?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Calvino's stories parallel each other to a greater or lesser degree. Discuss the parallels between stories in COSMICOMICS.

1) What parallels are there between "The Spiral," "The Light-Years," and "A Sign in Space"? How are these three stories' portrayals of signs and creation different and similar?

2) What parallels are there between "At Daybreak," "Without Colors," and "The Aquatic Uncle"? How are these three stories' portrayals of change and human reactions to change different and similar?

3) What parallels are there between "How Much Shall We Bet?" and "Games Without End"? How are these two stories' portrayals of rivalry different and similar?

4) What other parallels are there between the stories in COSMICOMICS? What role do parallels between the stories play in the development of Calvino's themes?

Essay Topic 2

In several of the stories, a family forms the central group of characters. Discuss the portrayal and role of family in COSMICOMICS.

1) Discuss the family in "At Daybreak." What role does each family member play in the family as a whole? How does being a family affect the characters' interactions?

2) How are the communities in "The Distance of the Moon" and "All at One Point" similar to and different from families?

3) What role does family play in "The Aquatic Uncle"? How does the familial relationship between Qfwfq and his uncle affect the story?

4) What role does family play in "The Dinosaurs"? How does Fern-flower's relationship to her brother affect the story? What is the import of Qfwfq fathering a son?

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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