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. What infuriates Dan?

2. With what does Griffin gain Dan and Cindy's cooperation?

3. Why does Griffin leave the living room drapes open?

4. What is Dan's response to Ralphie's request.

5. For whom does Fredricks work?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Robish taunt Griffin about?

2. What does Carson tell Dan the police will do after Dan returns to his house?

3. What happens when Cindy arrives home after her date with Chuck?

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

5. What does Bard tell Dan about Dan's feelings?

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

7. Who knocks at the door of the Hilliard's house and what does he do?

8. What does Griffin say that makes Hank angry?

9. What does Griffin order Eleanor and Cindy to do after everyone is home?

10. Why doesn't Dan want Robish back in the house?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The three convicts enter the Hilliard home and take Eleanor hostage. Answer the following questions in a well-developed essay using examples from the book as well as personal experience:

1. Describe how Eleanor responds to the convicts' invasion. Do you think you would respond in a similar fashion? Why or why not?

2. Have you heard of a psychological response to a hostage situation called the "Stockholm Syndrome?" Research about this syndrome and then decide if you think the Hilliard family became that type of hostage. Why or why not?

3. Could Eleanor have done anything differently at the very beginning of this situation so that it did not escalate into a hostage situation? Do you think Eleanor's actions would be different now in the 21st century than when this situation occurs in the 1950s?

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

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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