Les Liaisons Dangereuses Test | Final 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. What physical condition makes it difficult for Madame de Rosemonde to write letters?

2. How does Merteuil decide that Prévan is attempting to seduce her?

3. What does Valmont know Merteuil dislikes reading about?

4. Upon what does Valmont blame the incident which causes Madame de Tourvel to think Valmont does not love her?

5. What does Madame de Tourvel confess to Madame de Rosemonde?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe what Valmont does when he gets the key to Cécile's room.

2. What is the reward Valmont claims from Merteuil, and how does Merteuil respond to this?

3. What is the content and tone of Danceny's letters to Merteuil?

4. Summarize Merteuil's tale of her ruination of Prévan's.

5. How did Merteuil develop into a master manipulator?

6. How does Danceny explain his behavior to Madame de Rosemonde?

7. Summarize Bertrand's letters to Madame de Rosemonde.

8. Describe Merteuil's warning to Valmont about his reputation in Paris.

9. What arguments does Valmont use to convince Madame de Tourvel to see him?

10. How does Valmont manipulate Cécile and Danceny's relationship?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Define "pornography" and "erotica." How are they alike and/or different? Is there a central issue which divides the two, or are they essentially the same thing? What is their purpose and meaning or implication in popular culture, both to the private person and to society at large? Does _Les Liasons Dangereuses_ count as erotica or pornography, or both, or neither? Why? How do you describe Valmont's and Merteuil's sexual exploits as revealed in letters 10, 47, 71, and 79? Do these letters offer detail about feelings, desires, sexual acts, and body parts in lurid detail, or does the text dance around the issues by only alluding to them and making puns and double entendres? What about these letters might shock or offend a moral or virtuous reader, either in the 18th century or today? What could be the reasons that Valmont and Merteuil enjoy writing such letters to one another? Can writing be erotic without actually referring directly to sexual acts, to the human body, or to specific desires? For example, close-read letter 48, in which Valmont describes to Madame de Tourvel his passion for her, but the letter plays a joke on her by referring to Valmont's night of sex with Émilie in letter 47.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Discuss the types of mediation present in the novel. This could include: characters who mediate other characters' thoughts, actions, and feelings; the "editor" of the novel mediating the reader's interaction with the story by his arrangement of letters and placement and wording of notes; and plot itself being mediated through the letters. In some instances, the plot twists back upon itself, repeats itself, or offered through different perspectives. What is the effect and significance of such mediation on the themes, symbolism, character development, and the response of the reader?

(see the answer keys)

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