The Memorandum 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 style of writing best describes The Memorandum?

2. Lear agrees to help Gross, only if he can show that his interest in Ptydepe is what?

3. What does Gross attempt to steal from Stroll's desk?

4. Why does Ballas tell Gross that the log book needs to be replaced?

5. At the beginning of the play, what kind of letter does Gross receive?

Short Essay Questions

1. What are two main issues that Gross has with Ptydepe in Act 1, Scene 1?

2. What do we notice right away about the relationship between Ballas and Pillar?

3. After all of the speculation throughout the play, what are the contents of Gross' memo revealed to be, and what effect does this have on him?

4. What is different about Gross and his approach in the very beginning of Act 2, Scene 10?

5. What are the noticeable habits of Hana, the secretary, that are displayed in the beginning of the play?

6. What is different about Thumb's responses in Act 2, Scene 8 as compared to earlier in the play?

7. What events lead Gross to speak out against the technological advances that are affecting humanity?

8. What are some more examples of Ballas' parallel experience to Gross' time as Managing Director that are given in the first part of Act 2, Scene 9?

9. How does Lear explain Ptydepe in describing the process for learning it?

10. What is ironic about the way the conversation between Gross and Ballas starts and the way it concludes, specifically concerning Gross' job?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

How does the final scene display the need to confront the attempt to suppress individualism and freedom at any cost? Which characters in the scene illustrate that the most? Why do you think Havel chose those characters to make the strongest point of the play?

Essay Topic 2

Manipulation is one of the main weapons used against Gross throughout the entire play. Using several examples from the play, describe in detail how Gross is manipulated on a variety of different levels. What is the objective of the manipulation? Why is it effective? Overall, why is manipulation necessary to the way a bureaucratic system functions? How does the play illustrate the way manipulation can lead to control over someone?

Essay Topic 3

In the beginning of the play, Ptydepe is introduced as the new language of the office. This starts the chain of events that lead to many discoveries for the characters and the audience.

1) What does Ptydepe represent within the context of the play? What is it a symbol for in the bureaucracy and why does it cause Gross to become so frustrated?

2) How does Ptydepe tie in with the larger theme of the play, specifically as it relates to the dangers of a socialist/communist system of government? Why do you think Havel chose a language to illustrate his point?

(see the answer keys)

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