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 name causes Bard to feel terror?

2. Who tries to attack Robish?

3. Who is Ralphie?

4. Where has Helen Laski been spotted?

5. What do Dan and Cindy do?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What does Griffin tell Eleanor?

4. What does Carson tell Bard about his behavior?

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

6. What is it about the man at the door that puzzles Eleanor?

7. Why is Miss Swift upset about the Hilliard's house and what does Dan do about it?

8. What does Griffin do at the Hilliard house that evening?

9. What do the police know about Flick and what does Bard order?

10. How does Bard feel after he kills Griffin and how does Carson respond?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

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

During the climatic and final Act 3, both Chuck and Dan have the opportunity to kill one or more of the convicts during all the confusion. Both men choose to hit the convicts rather than shoot to kill. Answer the following questions in a well-developed essay using examples from the book as well as personal experience:

1. Why do you think Dan and Chuck do not try to kill the convicts when they separately have the chance?

2. Do you think Griffin would have actually killed Ralphie if the gun had been loaded? Explain your thoughts with examples.

3. Do you think the average non-criminal citizen would have done the same thing as Dan and Chuck, i.e., disable rather than kill? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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