Les Liaisons Dangereuses Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Pierre Choderlos de Laclos
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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. How do today's readers of Laclos interpret his novel?

2. Who is the author of the Editor's Preface?

3. What is the name of the school-friend to whom Cécile writes?

4. How does Valmont spy on Madame de Tourvel?

5. How does Valmont act toward Madame de Tourvel, as reported in letter 11?

Short Essay Questions

1. What action does Valmont take to make Madame de Tourvel love him, and what are the results?

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

3. How does Madame de Tourvel respond to Madame de Volanges' warning about Valmont?

4. What serious warning does Valmont give Merteuil?

5. How does Cécile describe her feelings about Danceny to Sophie in letter 55?

6. Who is Merteuil's "knight," and what does she think of him?

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

8. How does Valmont describe Madame de Tourvel?

9. Describe Cécile's relationship with Merteuil.

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the theme of nature and artifice, especially with reference to Cécile, Danceny, Merteuil, and Valmont. What are the natural personalities, interests, motivations, and moralities of these characters? How do they consciously or unconsciously change themselves to show their own or others' various desires? Are nature and artifice associated with any kind of moral message in the novel? How does Merteuil's letter 81, in which she offers the story of her youth and her sexual education, complicate the distinctions between nature and artifice? When do Cécile and Danceny exhibit artificial behavior? How are nature and artifice made ambiguous in Valmont's seduction of Madame de Tourvel?

Essay Topic 2

Examine the uses of irony throughout the novel. Your discussion may include: instances of satire, for instance of contemporary literary works or public figures; anything from the sarcastic tone often taken by Merteuil and Valmont in their letters to each other; the many instances of figurative language in the text such as puns and double entendres; the instances of certain characters' hypocrisy or denial; or the dramatic irony through which the reader or character knows something that another character does not. How does Laclos achieve irony? What language, tone, and style of writing indicate irony in the text? How do certain situations where characters find themselves tend toward the ironic?

Essay Topic 3

Examine the theme of male solidarity in the novel. Consider the following situations: the three men involved with Prévan's legendary seduction bond together to ruin all three women who are also Prévan's targets; Valmont convinces Madame de Tourvel's confessor, Father Anselme, to allow Valmont access to Madame de Tourvel; Valmont and Danceny, after dueling, bond together to ruin Merteuil. Are there similar instances of female solidarity in the novel? How does this influence your interpretation of gender roles in the novel? How are "communities," or even friendships, gendered in the text?

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