Darkness at Noon 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. Why does Wassilij turn his head away from the reader?

2. What does Gletkin say about Arlova?

3. What does Gletkin say is the reason peasants in industrial positions should be shot for even minor infractions of the law?

4. Who is reading the newspaper to Wassilij?

5. How does the reader heat water for tea?

Short Essay Questions

1. What are the first two questions the prosecutor asks Rubashov?

2. What does the prisoner in 402 tell Rubashov to do before they come for Rubashov and how long does 402 have to remain in prison? What are 402’s last words to Rubashov?

3. What does Rubashov realize about his relationship with Gletkin? Why does he think this?

4. For what reason does Rubashov think the regime is attempting to get rid of the old guard?

5. What does Rubashov confess to in the beginning? What is Gletkin’s response to this?

6. What does Rubashov say some of his ideas could cause?

7. What verdict is reached on Rubashov's charges? What evidence is presented?

8. What does Rubashov ask for when he is taken before Gletkin for Rubashov’s third hearing? What is Gletkin’s response?

9. For what does Wassilij interrupt her reading?

10. When Rubashov begins to address the court, what does he say he will talk about?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

When he wakes, Rubashov meditates on whether he will be shot, saying to himself, "the old guard is dead. . . . We are the last" and rubbing his "pince-nez".

Discuss the implications of the above statement in view of what is happening in the Soviet Republic at the time of this novel’s setting. Use examples from Darkness at Noon to support your answer.

Essay Topic 2

Choose one of the following to discuss:

Choose two significant symbols and trace and analyze their appearance in Darkness at Noon. Are these universal symbols that would have the same meaning in any culture? What other symbols could portray the same idea? Why do you think Koestler chooses the symbols he does? Consider symbols such as the window in the prison cell, the Judas hole, the map of Prisoner 406 and Rubashov’s constant cleaning of his monocle.

Essay Topic 3

Ivanov comes to Rubashov’s cell and talks to Rubashov about the greater good and how it is all right that so many people have been killed during and after the revolution, as the killings are for the greater good of mankind. He says that murder for personal reasons is morally wrong but it is not for state reasons.

Discuss Ivanov’s beliefs above about the state needing to kill so many people in order to make the future better. What are the steps in Ivanov’s reasoning which bring him to this conclusion? Use examples from Darkness at Noon to support your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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