Four Quartets 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. When darkness is present, as stated in the third part of "Burnt Norton," from what does it cleanse affection?

2. In conjunction with the assertion that the stillness shall be the dancing, the speaker postulates in "East Coker"'s third part that the darkness shall be what?

3. Under what are all of the dancers gone, according to the last line of Part II of "East Coker"?

4. Where, according to the speaker in the third part of "East Coker," do they "all go into"?

5. What, towards the end of "Burnt Norton"'s first part, rose quietly out of the water that came from sunlight?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is meant by the "intolerable wrestled / With words and meanings" in the second part of "East Coker"?

2. What does the speaker mean when he states in Part V of "East Coker" that "there is no competition - / There is only the fight to recover what has been lost And found and lost again and again"?

3. Why does the speaker of "East Coker" want only to hear of the folly of old men, in Part II of "East Coker"?

4. What might be meant by the statement of the bird at the end of "Burnt Norton"'s first part, that "human kind / Cannot bear very much reality"?

5. What does the speaker mean in Part IV of "East Coker" when he states that "Our only health is the disease"?

6. What does the speaker mean by commanding, in Part III of "East Coker," that one wait without hoping or loving, and that "the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting"?

7. What is an interpretative possibility for the final four lines of the first part of "East Coker"?

8. What is the purpose of the line, repeated and modified throughout the first part of "East Coker," "In my beginning is my end"?

9. Why does the speaker find "only a limited value / In the knowledge derived from experience" in Part II of "East Coker"?

10. What is the significance of the first 13 lines of "East Coker"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In Parts III & IV of "East Coker," the speaker uses a series of paradoxes in order to better illustrate certain truths. In a well-formed and well-planned critical essay, evaluate the use of these paradoxes in conveying meaning. What is a paradox? Of what does a paradox consist? How is a paradox constructed? What is the overall purpose of paradox? How does Eliot use paradox in The Four Quartets? Which paradoxes are the most significant? What do they show about human nature? What do they demonstrate about the human ability to know things? What do they show about the relationship between this world and the next, as it is conceived of in The Four Quartets?

Essay Topic 2

Part IV of "Little Gidding," a deeply religious section of the poem, uses fire as a metaphor both for suffering and for Love. Discuss this dual signification in a thoughtful analytical essay. How is fire alike to both suffering and to love? In what way is fire torturous? What does physical fire do to a human person? In what ways can it be positive? In what ways negative? What happens to a burnt person? In what way is fire like love? How does love set a person on fire? How are these opposed and yet similar ways of being for fire discussed in Part IV of "Little Gidding"? In what ways are they contrasted? In what ways are they compared? What is meant by the association of fire with a greater sort of Love? How is this significant for the poetical work as a whole?

Essay Topic 3

In a critical essay, evaluate the meaning and significance of the following lines:

"Only a flicker

Over the strained time-ridden faces

Distracted from distraction by distraction

Filled with fancies and empty of meaning

Tumid apathy with no concentration"

Specifically, what is being conveyed by these lines? What is the meaning of each line? What does each line demonstrate about the condition of the human person? What do they demonstrate about human nature? How is this conception important to the interpretation of The Four Quartets? Against what is modern man struggling?

(see the answer keys)

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