Libra 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. Why was Marguerite recently fired?

2. What group was Eladio del Valle the head of?

3. What topic do Konno and Lee most often discuss?

4. What documentation does Parmenter provide Mackey with in 20 May?

5. What did Mackey train exiles in before the Bay of Pigs?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Nicholas Branch's life.

2. What calls Oswald's testimony into question in Minsk?

3. What information about Oswald does Win receive at the beginning of June 19th?

4. What role does writing play and Lee's life in Minsk?

5. What new plan is Frank Vasquez hatching on September 6th?

6. Why, according to Parmenter, did the Bay of Pigs invasion fail?

7. Why does Lee go to meet Dr. Braunfels in Atsugi?

8. What does George de Mohrenschildt tell Parmenter about Oswald in this chapter?

9. Why do Lee and Marguerite argue in New Orleans?

10. How does Lee meet David Ferrie?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about the duel narrative structure of Libra. What story does each narrative tell, and where do they connect? Who is the protagonist of each? Discuss how having two narratives allows DeLillo to discuss Oswald and the conspiracy evenly? Which narrative seems more focused and driven? Why?

Essay Topic 2

The assassination passage of Libra is a harrowing and disturbing series of pages, but it clearly elucidates the reality of the day. In an essay, discuss how Don DeLillo frames the events on November 22, 1963 in this passage. Whose point of view does the author tell the assassination from? Is the passage linear in its chronology? How does the author eventually make clear who killed Kennedy?

Essay Topic 3

The character of Lee Oswald in Libra is an ambiguous figure, one whose loyalty is never clear as he moves from place to place and relationship to relationship. Write a three-part essay analyzing the shifting loyalties Oswald illustrates throughout the novel:

Part 1) Discuss Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union. At what point in his life does he decide that he should live in a Communist country? How does Soviet society appeal to Lee Oswald, and why does he eventually decide to return to the United States?

Part 2) What is Lee Oswald's life like in New Orleans. Why does he become friends with right wingers life Bannister and Ferrie despite his leftist leanings? Discuss his reasons for working in Bannister's office and why these conservative players tolerate his pro-Castro literature.

Part 3) Discuss the mindset that Oswald displays as he waits in his jail cell following Kennedy's murder. How does he rationalize his participation in the murder plot? What defense does he think he can present to authorities? How does this represent a fractured psyche?

(see the answer keys)

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