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. To whose funeral(s) do they all, in "East Coker," Part III, go?

2. Above what do the speaker and his companions move in Part II of "Burnt Norton"?

3. Which of the following does the speaker in Part I of "East Coker" not say replaces the lots where there used to be houses?

4. Words and music are said to move, in the fifth part of "Burnt Norton," only in what?

5. What goes in and out of "unwholesome lungs" in Part III of "Burnt Norton"?

Short Essay Questions

1. What are the other echoes which inhabit the rose-garden in Part I of "Burnt Norton"?

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

3. Why does the speaker claim in Part II of "Burnt Norton" that "To be conscious is not to be in time"?

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

5. 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"?

6. What does the speaker mean in the latter lines of Part III of "Burnt Norton" when he states that "This is the one way, and the other / Is the same"?

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

8. How is the "here" of Part III of "Burnt Norton" described, and what is significant about this description?

9. Why is the final sentence of "East Coker" an inversion of the first sentence?

10. Who is the "wounded surgeon" of Part IV of "East Coker," and what indicates this within the stanza?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

One of the recurring themes, but emphasized in "Burnt Norton," throughout The Four Quartets, is the notion of stillness as perfection. Analyze this notion as it is presented throughout the poems, focusing on the non-conventional ways in which stillness is spoken. What is stillness in the conventional sense? In what sense does Eliot speak of it in "Burnt Norton"? How is this different from the conventional sense? What characterizes Eliot's notion of stillness? Why is this notion of stillness a perfection? In what way is it related to movement? With what images and metaphors is it explicated and exposed? What is its overall importance in the poems?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Part III of "The Dry Salvages" begins with a meditation upon the nature of time future. Explicate this meditation in all of its imagery and significance. What images are associated with the future? How does man think of the future? How do these images demonstrate man's thinking of the future? In what way is the future uncertain? In what way is the future predetermined? How do these images demonstrate this? What is the significance of the future to the present? How does man relate the possibilities of the future to the present? In what way does the speaker disdain of this and why? What is the significance of the future, as it is discussed in the poem, to the interpretation of the poems as a whole?

(see the answer keys)

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