Invisible Cities 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. If a traveler walks into Zemrude with his head held down by grief, how will he see the city?

2. When he is quiet, what does Polo sometimes imagine?

3. Which city is described as a place where traitors are strung from lampposts and old men sit on docks, telling stories while mending fishing nets?

4. Which city is a gray stone metropolis with a large metal building in the center?

5. After Khan sends Polo on many missions, Polo learns:

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Polo say its pointless to try to describe the city of Zaira?

2. In what way is Tamara a city of perceptions and symbols?

3. When Khan and Polo pause in between their conversations, pondering the meaning of what's been said, what does each imagine or visualize?

4. In what way are the people of Chloe connected to each other?

5. Khan and Polo each envision model cities. From these models, what are the two men able to deduce?

6. How does Polo describe the young women of Armilla?

7. Why does Kublai Khan listen to Marco Polo's fantastic stories about cities he's visited?

8. Why would you say the cities described by Polo in Chapter 3 have an especially dreamy quality about them?

9. What is it about Anastasia that it would make slaves of men?

10. What happens from time to time to the temporary part of the city of Sophronia?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In many of Polo's stories, there is a strong relationship between the living and the dead.

Part 1) Give specific examples from the book of cities that exhibit some type of connection between those who are alive and those who have passed on.

Part 2) Why does Polo cover this theme? Why does he return to it again and again? What is he trying to establish, either for himself or for the emperor, regarding the interconnectedness of the living and the dead?

Essay Topic 2

Part 1) Compare and contrast the two characters in the story, Kublai Khan and Marco Polo. In what ways are they similar? How are they different?

Part 2) What kind of a relationship do Khan and Polo have? What does each learn from the other? Do the characters grow and develop in any way through their interactions with each other? If so, how? Cite examples from the book to support your answers.

Essay Topic 3

At first, Polo does not speak Khan's language and therefore uses symbols and gestures to communicate his stories. Later, he learns to speak a language Khan speaks and is able to give the emperor precise descriptions.

1) Analyze how Khan interprets Polo's stories when they are told through symbols and gestures. How much does he comprehend? What is left to his imagination? How does he fill in the blanks?

2) How do Khan's interpretations of the stories change once Polo learns to speak his language? Is any information lost, gained, or transformed? Explain.

3) Analyze the differences in Khan's interpretations when the stories are told through symbols and when they are told through clear spoken language. Which interpretation is closest to the truth Polo is trying to convey? Why?

(see the answer keys)

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