Einstein's Dreams Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Alan Lightman
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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 is the name of the woman with the brocade in her hair?

2. What does the narrator want readers to consider in the "3 May 1905" dream?

3. According to the narrator, people in their correct time period do not make contact with those from the future. How are those from the future looked at?

4. What does the narrator want readers to suppose time is?

5. According to the narrator in the "3 May 1905" dream, a world of sincerity is also a world of what?

Short Essay Questions

1. For the world described in the 11 May 1905 dream, describe the differences between the past and the future.

2. What is the tragedy of the world described in the 10 May 1905 dream?

3. What effect does height have in the 26 April 1905 dream?

4. What happens when there is only one day until the end of the world?

5. What happens one minute before the end of the world?

6. Describe the people who live by "bodily time."

7. Why does Besso believe that there are problems with Einstein's reasoning behind his creation of a theory of time?

8. According to the first Interlude, why is Besso worried about Einstein?

9. What happens every day for the townspeople of Berne? (28 April 1905)

10. Why do schools close one year before the end of the world?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Given that this novel is written by someone other than Einstein, do you believe that the author was working out a theory of his own and used Einstein as a muse? What would support your standing? Cite specific examples from the text to support your responses.

Essay Topic 2

On the back of the novel, James Gleick is quoted for the novel saying, "No novelist, physicist, or philosopher has offered such a wonderful vision of what time has been or might be." What implication does this set up for the understanding of Einstein himself? What problems may this quote have for the author's intent of writing the novel? Why might Gleick's statement be misunderstood as negative towards Einstein and, therefore, the author himself? Cite specific examples from the text to support your responses.

Essay Topic 3

Reread the "8 May 1905" dream. Given the similar state of our world today (12-12-12 end of the world), whether you believe that the end of the world coincides with the end of the Mayan calendar, do you believe the movements described in the novel are believable? Why or why not? How do you think the period of time described in the novel should be spent? Why? Cite specific examples from the text to support your responses.

(see the answer keys)

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