The Magic Mountain Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Who is Hans Castorp, where is he at the beginning of Chapter 1, and how does it make him feel?

Hans Castorp is an "ordinary young man". At the beginning of Chapter 1, he climbs the Alps in his narrow-gauge railroad car, arriving in Davos-Platz, the town below the Berghof Sanatorium. The thin air and the panoramas spread out before him on his ascent, makes him dizzy.

2. Who is Joachim Ziemssen, what does he look like, and what does he explain to Hans?

Joachim Ziemssen is Hans' cousin. He is a vigorous-looking, handsome young man with brown eyes and hair and military bearing. Joachim explains to Hans that time is different in the mountains and that a man "changes a lot of his ideas up here".

3. What happens as Hans settles into his room at the Berghof?

As Hans settles into his room at the Berghof, he learns that an American woman has just died in his room, although it has been fumigated. He is horrified when he hears a peculiar sickly cough from an Austrian horseman down the hall.

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