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. With what does Griffin threaten Cindy if she tries to escape?

2. What outrages Dan?

3. Who tries to attack Robish?

4. Who calls on the phone?

5. How does Dan realize that something is wrong in his house?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Griffin order Cindy to do with some of Helen's money and why?

2. What convinces Griffin to get ready to leave the house?

3. What does Bard say about his encounter with Griffin in the past?

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

5. What does Dan do after Robish opens the front door?

6. Who shows up at the house that night?

7. What happens to Dan when returning from picking up Griffin's money? How is Dan feeling at this point?

8. What gives the sheriff's office a clue about the convicts?

9. How does Dan react when the police pick up Cindy and Flick and what does he believe?

10. What does Griffin do after Ralphie runs away? How does Dan respond?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Besides belonging to the literary genre of drama, Desperate Hours is a category that might be called suspense drama. 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 a drama with that of Desperate Hours. What elements are similar? Different? Which do you prefer?

2. What do you think is the difference between suspense and terror? Give examples of drama or films that you would label suspense and examples that you would label terror. Give specific details to demonstrate elements of suspense and terror. Which do you enjoy the most? Why?

3. Alfred Hitchcock is often called the Master of Suspense. Watch one of his films and compare and contrast it to Desperate Hours. Which do you enjoy the most?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Mr. Patterson, the garbage man, comes by to collect money for the monthly bill and realizes something is suspicious. Robish jumps on the back of his truck and ends up murdering Mr. Patterson. Answer the following questions in a well-developed essay using examples from the book as well as personal experience:

1. Is there anything Mr. Patterson could have done to be safe? Would you have thought to check the back of your truck under the same circumstance?

2. Do you think that the only thing Robish could have done is kill Mr. Patterson? What about tying him up and letting someone else know later? What does it say about Robish as a person that he so easily kills a man?

3. Do you think Glen Griffin would have taken the same action as Robish against Mr. Patterson? What about Hank?

(see the answer keys)

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