The Desperate Hours Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Joseph Hayes
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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. How much whiskey does Dan bring home?

2. What is Chuck's occupation?

3. Who is Cindy?

4. What does Dan tell Griffin the second Dan spies the loaded gun?

5. What does Cindy's arrival at home cause?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Griffin want Dan and Cindy to do in the morning?

2. How does Griffin get a hold of his girlfriend?

3. What does Dan tell Ralphie and what does Ralphie and Griffin do after Eleanor and Chuck have left the house?

4. What is happening at the home of Dan and Eleanor Hilliard with their oldest child at the opening of the play?

5. What does Hank do when Cindy tries to move?

6. What does Carson tell Bard about Hank?

7. During the first scene at the Hilliard house, how does Eleanor feel when her family are all gone off to their daily places, and what does she do?

8. What does Griffin make clear to Cindy and Dan?

9. What does Carson tell Bard about his behavior?

10. While the convicts inside the house are arguing what does Chuck do?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the very opening of Act 1, one immediate theme of the play is obvious--that of convicts and the penal system of the United States. Choose one of the following questions and write a well-developed essay using examples from the book as well as personal experience:

1. Compare and contrast the penal system of the United States during the late-1940s and early-1950s to that of the early-21st century.

2. Answer the following questions after conducting some research: How do convicts manage to occasionally escape from what seems to be a very secure place? What type of prisoners tends to escape? How often do you think convicts escape? Do most escapees today refrain from harming hostages as was the case in this situation in Desperate Hours? Do you think the two brothers (Hank and Glenn) who were ultimately killed deserved death? What about Robish? What should happen to him?

3. Discuss the following questions in a cohesive essay: Do you believe today's prison system is cruel? Why or why not? What do you think is the reason for the high recidivism rate of convicts who are released and end up back in prison fairly quickly? Could the prison system do a better job of truly rehabilitating prisoners? What would that take?

Essay Topic 2

When Cindy first arrives home after the three convicts have taken control of the home, she realizes the situation and almost runs, but Griffin stops her with the threat that he will kill Eleanor if Cindy tries to leave. Answer the following questions in a well-developed essay using examples from the book as well as personal experience:

1. Would you run or stay if you were Cindy? Consider that it is possible the convicts would kill you along with your mother no matter what they say. Explain your rationale.

2. If you were Eleanor, would you want your daughter to run, even if it means your death? Explain.

3. Later in the story, the young boy of the household, Ralphie, does try to leave, though he is caught by Robish. Why do you think Ralphie tries to run; whereas, Cindy decides to enter the house and voluntarily become a hostage?

Essay Topic 3

In Act 1, when Dan arrives home and realizes the situation, Griffin tells Dan that they only need to hide until midnight, and then they will be gone. Dan tries to offer the criminals money to leave, but they are fixed on waiting for the money from Helen so that they can get away to Louisville. Answer the following questions in a well-developed essay using examples from the book as well as personal experience:

1. Why do you think the criminals insist on waiting for the money from Helen if Dan offers them enough money to be able to leave?

2. Why do you think Helen is willing to bring the convicts money when if she is caught, she will likely go to prison herself? Do you think Griffin really loves Helen if he would put her in that position?

3. Do you think the convicts are realistic in thinking that Helen will actually make it to the house without being watched and they will all be able to peaceably leave the Hilliard home? Explain your response.

(see the answer keys)

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