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. Where does Scene 2 take place?

2. What does the item that Gross is carrying in Act 1, Scene 5 symbolize?

3. In defense of Ptydepe, what does Ballas declare the new language is far more of than the current one?

4. What does Gross' lack of Ptydepe knowledge signal, according to Lear?

5. What is Gross rumored to be using inappropriately?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Gross' signature of the Ptydepe authorization set into motion?

2. What is Lear lecturing about during Act 2, Scene 11, and why does it cause Gross to stop and listen?

3. As illustrated in Scene 8, what is necessary for a bureaucracy to have power over its workers, and what is this an analogy for?

4. What do Ballas and Column continue to perpetuate by going to lunch in the middle of Lear's lecture in Act 2, Scene 11?

5. What does Maria's locating a new job for Gross say about her as a character, and what does Gross' reason for staying with the company say about him as a character?

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

7. What explanation does Ballas offer to Gross and what position does he offer him?

8. What do Hana's habits and actions symbolize?

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 important message does Maria give to Gross at the beginning of the second part of Act 2, Scene 9, part 2 about winning, and how does it apply to his situation?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The protest in Scene 10 of Act 2 is one of Havel's most blatant illustrations of the dangers he is writing the play to raise awareness of. How does the protest relate to those dangers? What does it say about the bureaucrats involved? Also, explain Pillar's specific role in the protest and the warning Havel is making through his work. Include the significance of Pillar's name and how it fits in with the character's purpose in the plot at this point in the play.

Essay Topic 2

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?

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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