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 is Marthe holding when she meets with Cincinnaus?

2. What does Rodrig Ivanovich say after Cincinnatus reads the letter?

3. What about Pierre does Cincinnatus say might prevent him from making an effective escape?

4. Where did Cincinnatus grow up?

5. What additional news does Cincinnatus get at the same time?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does Cincinnatus describe happening to the world in his dreams?

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

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

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

6. What reason does Cincinnatus give for needing to know the schedule for his execution?

7. What is the new prisoner doing when Cincinnatus walks past his cell after meeting Emmie in the hallway?

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

9. After the director reads his formal speech to Cincinnatus, where does Cincinnatus go?

10. What does Cincinnatus hope to get out of seeing Marthe?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

Discuss the setting of the prison.

1) Why is the prison set high on a mountain? Why is Cincinnatus the only prisoner? Why is it so large and rambling, with confused passages? What does this contribute to the novel?

2) What does Cincinnatus's cell look like? What do the elements in Cincinnatus's cell represent or indicate? How is Cincinnatus's cell different from Pierre's cell?

3) Why do the cell and prison collapse when Cincinnatus is taken away to be executed?

(see the answer keys)

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