The Mayor of Casterbridge 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 causes Lucetta to change her mind about marrying Henchard?

2. Michael incessantly criticizes Elizabeth for what?

3. What does Lucetta do when the town hears the rumors from the defendant about the magistrate?

4. Susan writes a letter to Michael when on her deathbed. What does she request of him concerning this letter?

5. What is Henchard's impression of the new machinery?

Short Essay Questions

1. Donald Farfrae is a stranger in Casterbridge, yet he decides to help Henchard. This is not a common act between strangers as seen by Henchard's surprise. What does this say about Farfrae's character? Does he really want something or is he really acting as a good Samaritan?

2. Henchard shows both happiness and reservations concerning Susan's return. Henchard plans to remarry and care for his family. However, in his note to Susan, he writes, "The news upsets me almost," and in their meeting he states, "But- to lead me into ... this difficulty about our living together ..." What is going through Henchard's mind as he learns of his wife's return? Does he love her or is he obliged to a duty? What causes his reservations?

3. Henchard hears from Lucetta and believes he should marry her. At this point, Susan is on her deathbed. Why does Henchard want to marry Lucetta? Is it another obligation? Does he have feelings for her?

4. Any drama in Elizabeth's life is not from her own doing. She lives to see how others bear good and bad circumstances. As Elizabeth lives her life, what overall lesson does she learn?

5. At first request, Michael is agreeable to let Elizabeth leave and gain independence. But when the time comes for her to leave, he gets angry and flustered at the idea. Why does Henchard react with such contradiction?

6. At the hiring market, Farfrae and Lucetta witness a farmer who is in a dilemma. Either the farmer loses his sweetheart or fails his father. Lucetta shows concern and Farfrae offers to hire the man close in town so the farmer does not have to choose. What is the motivation behind Donald's decision? Does he really have concern for the farmer? Is it to impress Lucetta instead?

7. Henchard becomes distraught and angry at the idea that Elizabeth is not his daughter. Out of pride, he does not tell her after the big deal he makes for her to change her name. How does Henchard express his feelings if not in telling her the truth?

8. What is the significance of Psalm 109? Why does the band refuse to play such a song? What is the irony in the lyrics?

9. Earlier in the book, Jopp is tersely introduced and forgotten when his management position is taken by Farfrae. Re-introduced years later in chapter 26, he is described as coming from the back slum and his clothing a sign of need. Unjustly fired, what role do you think Jopp plays in Henchard's life?

10. When Henchard writes a note to Susan, he also gives five guineas in return. What does Henchard hope to portray in this gift? How does Susan react to the money when she sees it?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Hardy refers to "man as the blot on an otherwise kindly universe," but continues to note that there are times men are peaceful while the beasts in animals come out. According to Hardy, what is the nature of man? How does Michael Henchard represent man?

Essay Topic 2

Whittle is a small character throughout the novel, but is the last person to see Henchard before he dies. Describe Whittle's will to help Henchard and what it means in the novel to have a minor character help Henchard in his loneliest time.

Essay Topic 3

Henchard is different than Donald, yet Donald's life seems to follow the same pattern as Henchard. Compare and contrast their lives and how the results may or may not end the same.

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