Les Liaisons Dangereuses Test | Lesson Plans Mid-Book Test - Hard

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. Into which main form(s) was __Les Liaisons Dangereuses_ reproduced in the 20th century?

2. Why must Cécile's marriage be postponed?

3. What does Merteuil call Danceny in letter 38?

4. According to Merteuil in letter 10, which pretext do women use to submit to sexual pleasure with a man?

5. Who wrote the Publisher's Foreword to _Les Liasons Dangerueses_?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Merteuil's end in the novel.

2. Describe Cécile de Volanges.

3. What are Merteuil and Valmont's plans for Danceny and Cécile at the beginning of Part II?

4. Describe how Madame de Tourvel changes after being abandoned by Valmont.

5. What causes Cécile to become worried and sad about her upcoming marriage?

6. What does Merteuil suggest, in different forms, to Cécile and Valmont?

7. How does Valmont thwart Merteuil with regards to Danceny?

8. What was the general response to _Les Liaisons Dangereuses_ in the 20th century?

9. What does the author of the Introduction say is particularly engaging about Laclos' use of the epistolary form?

10. How does Cécile feel about Danceny's first letter?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Explore the strange, though steady, friendly relationship that Merteuil and Valmont have maintained with one another. Describe the tone that Merteuil and Valmont's letters take with each other throughout most of the novel. What do these letters say specifically about Valmont and Merteuil's relationship and their past, and what do the letters merely imply or hint at? Why does their relationship fail--is it the result of an action, an event, another person, an exterior or interior force? Examine the friction that has taken place between Merteuil and Valmont throughout the novel. How does Merteuil typically respond to Valmont's letters about Madame de Tourvel? How does Merteuil judge Valmont's feelings for Madame de Tourvel or his motivations in pursuing her? How does Valmont defend his motivations and his feelings to Merteuil, and what promise did he continually remind her of? Why would such a reminder perhaps irritate Merteuil? What is the tone and direction of their correspondence once Merteuil decided to take Danceny as a lover?

Essay Topic 2

Analyze the changes in Cecile's character throughout the novel. What characteristics define her in the beginning, middle, and end of the story? Closely analyze Cécile's letters to Sophie, looking for language and phrasing which indicates how she feels about her relationships with others. This includes her thoughts on marriage, her relationship with her mother, her feelings for Danceny, and her friendship with Merteuil. How does her language and her style of writing help define Cécile's character? Why does she stop writing to Sophie? Why is Cécile's voice almost completely absent through the last portions of the novel? What does this conspicuous absence say about her identity, or lack thereof? What control, if any, does Cécile retain over her own life? How does she use this control, or how do others (specifically Valmont) control her?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the role that religion, church, and the clergy have in the novel. How does each character treat, refer to, or interact with religion, faith and morality? Explain the reasoning behind the following categorizations of the main characters, based upon the characters' views on, or influence from, religion: Merteuil and Valmont; Madames de Rosemonde, de Volanges, and de Tourvel; Cécile and Danceny.

(see the answer keys)

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