Four Quartets Test | Final 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. The third of the "conditions which often look alike" in Part III of "Little Gidding" is what?

2. From where does the "wailing warning " of Part I of "The Dry Salvages" come?

3. The speaker implores that a prayer be repeated on behalf of whom, in Part IV of "The Dry Salvages"?

4. What does the first line of "Little Gidding" say is its own season?

5. Whose shine, discussed in Part IV of "The Dry Salvages" "stands on the promontory"?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is meant by the statement in Part II of "Little Gidding" that "Water and fire deride / The sacrifice that we denied"?

2. What does the speaker mean in Part I of "Little Gidding" when he states that "This is the spring time / But not in time's covenant"?

3. Why would anyone passing "this way" "have to put off / Sense and notion" in Part I of "Little Gidding"?

4. What is meant by the line, "You are not the same people who left that station," in Part III of "The Dry Salvages"?

5. What is significant about the speaker's discussion of the strangeness of the sea in relation to man, in Part I of "The Dry Salvages"?

6. What does the speaker mean by saying in Part V of "The Dry Salvages" that "to apprehend / The point of intersection of the timeless / With time, is an occupation for the saint"?

7. What is signified by the statement, in the final part of "Little Gidding," that "the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time"?

8. What is meant by the speaker's interlocutor's phrase that "next year's words await another voice" in Part II of "Little Gidding"?

9. What is meant by saying in the final part of "Little Gidding" that "history is a pattern / Of timeless moments"?

10. Why is the "strong brown god" of Part I of "The Dry Salvages" "almost forgotten / By the dwellers in cities"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

One of the most complicated metaphysical threads running through The Four Quartets is Eliot's conception of Time as a whole. It is constantly surrounded by paradoxes and non sequitur. In a thorough and thoughtful analytical essay, unpack the complications surrounding Eliot's conception of Time. How does his thinking contrast with that of convention? How are the past, present, and future distinct and yet comparable? In what do they each consist? How are they unified? How is time an imperfection? How is man outside of time? How is man nonetheless constrained to temporal existence?

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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