Elective Affinities; Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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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 service does Ottilie volunteer to do for Eduard?

2. What is notable about the letters Eduard writes to Ottilie?

3. What becomes the focus of Eduard's efforts regarding the landscape improvements around the estate?

4. What does Ottilie see as her "everything?"

5. How does Eduard plan to celebrate the finishing of the landscape improvements, as well as to show his affection for Ottilie?

Short Essay Questions

1. Briefly summarize the story behind Eduard and Charlotte's marriage.

2. Summarize the concept of "elective affinities," and describe how the Captain, Eduard, and Charlotte formulate their discussion of this concept.

3. What does the Baroness discover about Eduard, and how does she react to it?

4. How does Ottilie act around the others when she arrives at the estate?

5. For what reason does the foursome decide to build a pavilion?

6. Summarize the letters from the headmistress and the schoolmaster.

7. What does Mittler do regarding Charlotte and Eduard's tense situation?

8. Describe the Count and the Baroness and the circumstances surrounding them.

9. What event leads to a sexually charged encounter between Charlotte and the Captain, and how does Charlotte react to it?

10. Where on the estate do the four protagonists increase their work, and for what coming occasion?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Examine the role of human beings in shaping the natural landscape. What do the four protagonists use the land for? How do they view their use of it, and the general purpose the landscape has? Describe their relationship to the land in terms of the utilitarian, the picturesque, the beautiful, and/or the sublime? What does nature seem to symbolize for each character, and what is the significance of this symbolism? How might a reader interpret the protagonists' use of and relation to the land as a statement by Goethe about human interactions with nature in his own time and place?

Essay Topic 2

Choose two minor characters and discuss their significance to the main plot elements in which they appear, and how their presence, actions, or influence contribute to the thematic development of the novel as a whole. What are these minor characters' relationships with the four main characters, what social class do they occupy, and what of their personality traits seem important to you in describing their influence? How do the minor characters interact with and affect the main characters of the novel? What specific role do they have in the plot episode in which they appear? Do you think these characters or their presence in the novel symbolize anything? Suggestions for minor characters include: Herr Mittler, the architect, Luciane, Nanni, the Count, the Baroness, the schoolmaster, and the Englishman.

Essay Topic 3

Examine the role of the sciences which are mentioned or utilized in the novel: mathematics, chemistry, geography, history, natural science, architecture, and derivations of alchemy. What are the main and minor characters' views on the sciences? How are these sciences used in the novel? In the context of the early 19th century, what were the roles of various branches of science, and how were the sciences viewed in European culture? Where do you see connections between the actual cultural and historical context of this novel, and the references to the sciences within it?

(see the answer keys)

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