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

2. According to Lear, how is the best way to learn Ptydepe?

3. What does Maria offer Helena in Act 1, scene 3?

4. As explained in the play, what is Ptydepe designed to reduce?

5. Where is Ballas located at the end of Act 1, Scene 4?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does the fact that Gross doesn't know the answers to Lear's Ptydepe questions also symbolize, and what is ironic about it?

2. What is significant about Thumb's interaction with Lear in Act 2, Scene 11?

3. Describe the difference between Thumb and Gross as the characters are portrayed in Act 1, Scene 2.

4. How does Lear explain the complexities of Ptydepe to the class?

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

6. Describe two main methods that Ballas uses in Act 1, Scene 4 to get Gross to comply?

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

8. Who is Thumb and what does the character represent?

9. What is the game that Helena plays with Gross and what does it symbolize?

10. The "wrong cause" that Stroll, Savant, and Helena are upset about dedicating their lives to is really a symbol for what larger "wrong cause?"

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Havel introduces many forms of symbolism by using objects to illustrate his point.

1) Choose three different objects that are a form of symbolism and describe in detail what they represent. Include how they are used in the storyline and why they are effective. What is Havel trying to tell the audience with each of them?

2) Out of the examples you chose in the first section, are there any that are more important to the plot? What makes them more important? How do they fit into the overall theme and main point of the play?

Essay Topic 2

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 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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