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. As a result of Gross' incorrect answers, what does Lear deny him?

2. What does Gross do with the letter?

3. What is the clerk's name in Scene 2?

4. What Department does the Ptydepe Translation Center replace?

5. One main point in Act 1, Scene 4 is to display that Ballas and the higher-ups are after power for what purpose?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the reason Lear gives for a need of the new language, Ptydepe?

2. What does Havel use the reference of a theater to symbolize?

3. Why does Gross report to the Training Center in Act 1, Scene 5, and what is he carrying?

4. What is it about Gross' personality that makes him susceptible to Ballas' manipulation?

5. What is significant about Gross' search for cigarettes and what does Havel use it to represent in the play?

6. What does Helena's request for Maria to help her make coffee symbolize?

7. Explain the symbolic meanings behind some of the characters introduced in Act 1, Scene 3.

8. What subtle things does Ballas do to maintain his power?

9. How is the symbolism of the fire extinguisher heightened at the beginning of the second part of Act 2, Scene 9, part 2 with George and Gross?

10. What reasoning does Gross give Maria for not reversing the decision about her job?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The crucial moment of the second part of Act 9 is when the memo is finally translated for Gross. The contents of it are ironic, comedic, and inspiring all at the same time. Explain them in detail, describing why and how all three themes (irony, comedy, and inspiration) are represented. Also, explain what the significance is of Maria being the one to translate it. What does that add to the message for Gross?

Essay Topic 2

In Scene 5 of Act 1, an important point is made with the correlation between Gross' pursuit of knowledge (the translation of the memo) and his lack of knowledge. This creates a never ending circle where no logical way out exits for Gross.

1) Explain in detail what the significance of the knowledge is to the play in general, and in the scene specifically. Also, describe the irony of Gross' situation. What does the fact that he cannot answer the questions correctly symbolize? His lack of answers also displays a lack of something else. What is it and is why is it important to the point Havel is making about bureaucracy overall?

2) Staying with the theme of knowledge, which characters are allowed to have it? Do they really possess it, or is it only a perception portrayed to the characters that are kept from knowledge? Why is this necessary for the people to retain their power?

Essay Topic 3

Describe the characteristics of a satirical play. Why is comedy often used along with satire to make a point? Use examples from The Memorandum as references to your description. Also, explain what the target of the satire in the play is.

(see the answer keys)

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