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

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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. In what year does Rilke write the third letter?

2. Besides works by that writer, what other book does Rilke always have accessible to him?

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

4. How long ago has Rilke departed from the city he has left before arriving at the place where he composes the fourth letter?

5. How old is the young poet when he begins corresponding with Rilke?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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?

2. At the end of letter four, Rilke mentions the young poet's new profession. What is this profession?

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

4. What does Rilke imply about irony?

5. What type of writing does Rilke advocate for?

6. What can the reader infer about the content of the first letter the young poet wrote to Rilke from reading Rilke's response?

7. What does Rilke mean when, in letter four, he says that man "might be more reverent toward his fruitfulness, which is but one, whether it seems mental or physical..."?

8. Rilke places considerable emphasis on the necessary nature of art. What does he mean when he says that a poet is only a poet if he would die if he didn't write?

9. 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?

10. Rilke places emphasis on the importance of solitude. Why is solitude so important?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Explain and analyze Rilke's understanding of God and how that view of God is atypical for the time in which Rilke lived.

Essay Topic 2

Throughout the letters, and especially in letter eight, Rilke suggests that people are not truly living their lives--that their experiences are dulled from familiarity and security. What type of living is Rilke advocating? What is this type of living like?

Essay Topic 3

Explain Rilke's ideas about the interrelationship of sex and art. How are sex and art similar? What should the role of sexuality be in the life of the artist?

(see the answer keys)

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