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. Who does the director say will need time to prepare for the execution?

2. What does the librarian refuse to do?

3. What possible consequence of Roman's sickness does the director mention?

4. What metaphor does Cincinnatus use for trying to find the essence of what he wants to say?

5. What is the director doing when Rodion brings Cincinnatus back to his cell from the new prisoner's cell?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Describe the view of the surrounding land that Cincinnatus sees.

3. What types of dreams do the prison rules disallow?

4. Besides how long Cincinnatus has until his execution, what else does Cincinnatus want to know from his captors? What is their response?

5. Describe Cincinnatus's early days with his wife.

6. In the story that Cincinnatus tells from his childhood, how does he get to the garden?

7. After telling his "joke," what does Pierre say about how Cincinnatus looks?

8. What does Pierre say about himself?

9. What relatives does Marthe bring with her the first time she visits Cincinnatus in prison?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The novel revolves around Cincinnatus's persecution for a crime, but his crime is never clearly explained. Discuss the nature of Cincinnatus's crime.

1) What does "gnostic turpitude" mean? How does this phrase describe Cincinnatus' crime?

2) What does the episode in Cincinnatus's childhood when he walks in the air reveal about Cincinnatus' crime?

3) How do the other characters react to Cincinnatus' crime and what does this reveal about the nature of the crime? What is Cincinnatus's own attitude, and why won't he repent?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss symbolism and metaphor in the novel.

1) What things are described as being off-center in the novel? What does this represent in the novel?

2) What does the spider represent in the novel? What does the moth that is almost fed to the spider represent?

3) What do nonnons represent? Why does Cecelia C. tell the story of nonnons?

4) Why does Cincinnatus take himself apart several times during the novel? What does this represent? What do some of the other absurd or surreal events in the novel represent?

5) What does the prison itself represent? Do the characters have symbolic or metaphoric meaning?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss Cincinnatus's own role in his imprisonment.

1) How does Cincinnatus's crime make him impossible to imprison? Why does Cincinnatus remain in the prison, hoping for help of escape from Emmie or Pierre?

2) What implications does Cincinnatus's escape from his execution at the end of the novel have about Cincinnatus's imprisonment? If he were able to simply walk away from the executioner's ax, couldn't he simply walk away from his cell?

3) What aspects of Cincinnatus's own personality and character imprison him, literally and metaphorically?

(see the answer keys)

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