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. To what does Jaromil poetically compare Magda?

2. Why does Maman blame Jaromil for all her troubles?

3. What does Xavier take as an invitation to enter the house?

4. Why does Maman take her husband's picture off the wall?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. When the artist explains the red and brown painting to Maman, what is her response? How does this set the tone for the rest of their relationship?

2. 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?

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

4. At the debate in Part 3, Chapter 15, what arguments does Jaromil make about progress? Given his own life, how are these views ironic?

5. As Jaromil reaches adolescence, why is manhood so important to him?

6. Throughout the second half of Part 3, what do Jaromil and the university girl think about their love? What impression does their opinion give to the reader?

7. In Xavier's interactions with the woman in the apartment, what role does water play?

8. What does Xavier notice most about the woman in the apartment? How does the woman use her eyes?

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

What is the setting of the novel? How does this establish the story? How might the story be different in another setting?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

When is Jaromil compared to other poets? How does their fame reflect on him? What is the effect of these comparisons?

(see the answer keys)

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