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

2. What does Merteuil call the woman Valmont wishes to seduce?

3. What is a "little house?"

4. In his other writings, what view did Laclos take of women?

5. How does Merteuil respond to Valmont's warning about the man who wants to pursue her?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Madame de Tourvel respond to Valmont's first love letter?

2. Describe Cécile's relationship with Merteuil.

3. What is the content of Danceny's letters to Cécile?

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

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

6. What subterfuge does Valmont use to come into possession of Madame de Tourvel's letters?

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

8. What are the general contents of Valmont's love letters to Madame de Tourvel?

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

10. Summarize Prévan's "legendary" feat of seduction according to Valmont.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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

Does Merteuil and Valmont's relationship through letter writing become a stand-in for having a real sexual relationship, or even being in love? What is the significance of them never meeting face-to-face within the confines of the book? Does Merteuil subtly seduce Valmont through the entire novel? What does she lead him to believe? What promise or contract between them does Valmont continually remind her of? How does their sexual tension contribute to the breaking of their relationship late in the novel? How does their relationship change throughout the course of the novel?

(see the answer keys)

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