Life Is Elsewhere 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. What can only a true poet know?

2. Why does Jaromil not speak to the cashier when she leaves the store?

3. Why does Jaromil imitate his peers' actions and speech as if he's in a mirror?

4. Why does Xavier constantly arrive late, no matter where he's going?

5. Why is Jaromil filled with pride after sleeping with the redhead girl?

Short Essay Questions

1. At the ski lodge, Xavier kisses the old woman while luring the girl outside in the snow. In this scene, how do the women exchange places in life? How is this emphasized by the colors they wear?

2. How does Jaromil view the loss of his virginity as a metaphysical event? Is his perception true?

3. What revelation does Maman have about her husband one night after a party? How does this affect her relationship with Jaromil?

4. When Jaromil returns at midnight after walking the university girl home, Maman becomes hysterical because she was worried about him. What does this scene show about these two people's perception of love?

5. Maman and the engineer disagree about where Jaromil was conceived. Why is this an important debate?

6. When Maman combs Jaromil's hair in front of her guests, how does he react? According to the implications of the text, how does this deepen the rift between them?

7. After the death of Maman's husband, how does she change? Though Kundera does not make it overt, is this change for the better or for the worse?

8. "For real life is elsewhere. The students are pulling up cobblestones, overturning cars, making barricades; their entrance into the world is noise and magnificent, illuminated by flames and glorified by explosions of tear gar grenades" (Part 4, pg 175). What does this mean in the context of Jaromil's life?

9. "He [Jaromil] was searching for immensity. His life was hopeless, small, everything around him was flat, gray" (Part 3, Chapter 8, pg 104). How does Kundera's presentation of the novel prove this to be true?

10. What is the point of the scene in which Xavier leads his military compatriots to battle? Why does he not get his wish for death?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How is Xavier an important person because of the list in his notebook? How might Jaromil seek similar importance through these fantasies/dreams?

Essay Topic 2

Xavier's woman lover looks like an aquatic being (Part 2, Chapter 4, pg 73). What are the ties to Jaromil's perception of Magda? What importance does water have in the perception of beautiful women? What connections are there to ice?

Essay Topic 3

What element causes Jaromil's death? How is this suited to his life? What does it mean that at the end he looked into his own face, and what horror is added in that moment?

(see the answer keys)

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