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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. By what name does Bonnemort's daughter-in-law go?
2. What happens to Etienne's relationship with Catherine when he moves into her home?
3. How do the visitors treat the people in the village?
4. What does Etienne create with advice from his friend Pluchart?
5. Why was Etienne fired from his previous job?
Short Essay Questions
1. Describe Léon Grégoire and his life.
2. How does Etienne's move affect his relationship with Catherine?
3. What activist does Etienne meet at the Advantage and what do they do?
4. How did Etienne get a job and what will he be doing?
5. What is the social scene like in the village?
6. What does the company tell the miners about the mine at Voreux in February?
7. What do the Montsou miners do while the miners are working at the Jean-Bart mine?
8. What happens in the mine in November and what was the consequences?
9. How do the miners feel about Etienne Lantier and what do they do about it?
10. Chaval comes in the Advantage where Etienne is talking with Rasseneur. What does he announce and what happens between him and Etienne?
Essay Topic 1
The situation is desperate, with the miners having no food or heat. Zola draws an analogy of lack of coal as a source of collective energy (for the houses), which is correlated with the lack of food, a source of personal energy (for the body).
1. Discuss two other analogies that Zola uses in the miners' situation.
2. Do you think Zola's analogies are meant to be ambivalent to be powerful? Why or why not?
3. Would he have strengthened his position better with more concrete writing?
Essay Topic 2
The third section of the novel draws a portrait of the events that lead the miners to go on strike. It also shows the evolution of Étienne Lantier's political ideas.
1. What do you see as the stages in the evolution of Lantier's thinking from sympathy with the miners to action?
2. How might Etienne Lantier's own weaknesses have pushed him to organize the miners?
3. How did his strengths help him?
Use examples from the book to support your opinions.
Essay Topic 3
The first chapter also introduces the "monster," which is the huge cone-like structure set over the pit that is described as a beast ready to eat the men that slave for it.
1. How did you feel about the mine from the way Zola described it?
2. Using metaphors and analogy describe the mine as Zola sees it.
3. Why do you think Zola used metaphors in his descriptions?
This section contains 2,256 words
(approx. 8 pages at 300 words per page)