Letters to a Young Poet Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. From whom does Rilke advise the young poet to avoid seeking advice?
(a) Poets.
(b) Artists.
(c) Parents.
(d) Military officers.

2. How does Rilke advise the young poet to view sex?
(a) To rejoice in it but not lose oneself in it.
(b) To fear it.
(c) To distance sex from art.
(d) To see it as a temptation to be avoided.

3. In the fourth letter, what does Rilke say he wishes human beings are more reverent toward?
(a) Solitude.
(b) Their sexuality.
(c) Art.
(d) Independence.

4. What writer and personal acquaintance does Rilke discuss in letter three?
(a) Richard Strauss.
(b) Richard Dehmel.
(c) Professor Horacek.
(d) Thomas Hardy.

5. How does Professor Horacek know Rilke?
(a) Professor Horacek teaches Rilke at a military academy.
(b) Professor Horacek is Rilke's editor.
(c) Professor Horacek raises Rilke.
(d) Professor Horacek knows Rilke's grandfather.

Short Answer Questions

1. In the third letter, Rilke requests that the young poet avoid something. What is it that he asks the poet to avoid?

2. What is Rilke's primary criticism of the young poet's writing in the first letter?

3. In what year is Rilke's second letter composed?

4. What does Rilke enclose with his third letter to the young poet?

5. What does Rilke advise the young poet to buy in letter three?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Rilke mean when he says in letter three that sex "is not sufficiently human, [but] is only male"?

2. Rilke says that artists remains unaware of their best qualities. Why is this?

3. In letter four, Rilke says that "even the best err in words when they are meant to mean most delicate and almost inexpressible things." What does this mean?

4. What reason does Rilke give for advising the young poet against writing love poems?

5. What are Rilke's views on aesthetic criticism?

6. In letter four, Rilke says that "everything that may some day be possible to many the solitary man can now prepare and build with his hands, that err less." What does this mean?

7. What does Rilke imply about irony?

8. Rilke tells the young poet in the first letter that the only way for the poet to improve his writing is to "go into yourself". What does this mean?

9. Rilke advises the young poet to be cautious about the way sex can change behavior. In what way does he suggest that sex changes people?

10. What does Rilke imply about the nature of good art when he tells the young poet that if poetry is inspired by the young poet's soul-searching, he does not need to ask anyone else if the poetry is good?

(see the answer keys)

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