Invitation to a Beheading 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. What present has one of Marthe's brothers brought Cincinnatus?

2. What happens when Marthe's grandfather goes to light Marthe's father's cigarette?

3. What is dirtying the lawyer's back?

4. Which way does Rodion sharpen a pencil?

5. What does Cincinnatus have to eat when Emmie comes into his cell?

Short Essay Questions

1. At the end of his first day in prison, what does Cincinnatus think about?

2. What does Emmie do with the books in Cincinnatus' cell?

3. What faults and virtues does Pierre say that the director has?

4. What memory of his wife does Cincinnatus recall in his writing?

5. What happens after Cincinnatus goes to bed, the night after the prisoner arrives?

6. How does Cincinnatus describe his difference from other people?

7. How does Cincinnatus' father-in-law say goodbye to him?

8. Describe the librarian.

9. What happens when there start to be complaints about Cincinnatus?

10. What ring does Cincinnatus describe wearing in his memory from his childhood?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The ending of the novel is ambiguous, open to more than one interpretation. Discuss the ending of the novel.

1) If the ending of the novel is objectively real, what is happening? Why is Cincinnatus able to walk away? What does this imply about Cincinnatus's character, the culture he is immersed in, and the prison that he has been in? What does it imply about the other characters?

2) If the ending of the novel is merely Cincinnatus's subjective perception, what is happening? Why is Cincinnatus suddenly freed? What does this imply about Cincinnatus's character, the nature of reality, the culture he is immersed in, and the prison he has been in? What does it imply about his crime?

3) What is your personal interpretation of the ending of the novel?

Essay Topic 2

Cincinnatus is oppressed for being different from other people. Discuss oppression in the novel.

1) Are other people besides Cincinnatus in the novel oppressed? Are their differences from each other and from the society's accepted culture suppressed?

2) How is Cincinnatus different from the other people in his culture? In what ways is Cincinnatus oppressed, beyond his imprisonment?

3) Are Cincinnatus and the other characters complicit in their own oppression? In what ways could the characters fight against or break free of oppression?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss communication in the novel.

1) Why does Cincinnatus believe he has communicated with whoever he hears digging a tunnel beyond his wall? How does he feel about having communicated? What does he hope to gain through this communication?

2) How does Cincinnatus use his writing to try to communicate? What is he trying to communicate, and to whom?

3) In what other ways does Cincinnatus try to communicate with those around him? What are the obstacles to communication?

(see the answer keys)

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