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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 justification does Maman give herself for her initial infidelity?
2. During the summer, why is Jaromil alone?
3. To Jaromil, what determines a woman's beauty?
4. What is the first time Jaromil's words save him from punishment?
5. What sacred contract does Maman feel that Jaromil is violating?
Short Essay Questions
1. What role does Jaromil want the artist to play in his life? How does the artist fall short of these expectations?
2. How does Part 4 begin? What are the literary advantages to this?
3. What revelation does Maman have about her husband one night after a party? How does this affect her relationship with Jaromil?
4. As Jaromil reaches adolescence, why is manhood so important to him?
5. 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?
6. When the Communists stage a coup, Jaromil and his uncle fight about the justice of the action. What does this fight reveal about Jaromil's place in the world, particularly in the political realm?
7. "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?
8. "It was sad, but beautiful, too: for a moment, Jaromil lost the feeling of being a mere child" (Part 3, Chapter 25, pg 150). What causes this moment? Will it last?
9. How are Jaromil's university experiences told in the novel? What message does this convey to the reader about the scope of the novel?
10. Why is Jaromil thrilled at the thought of catching Magda, the family maid, in the bathtub? What does this say about his sexual development?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
How do the colors of people's clothing give clues about their place in Jaromil's life? What about the colors of clothing in Xavier's life? How are the colors similar or different between the two lives?
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
When is Jaromil compared to other poets? How does their fame reflect on him? What is the effect of these comparisons?
This section contains 1,716 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)