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 is Gross's new title?

2. What do the higher-ups apparently approve in return for the office using Ptydepe?

3. Where does Gross wish he could return to at the end of Acct 1, Scene 4?

4. Ballas and the higher-ups manipulate Gross in order to bring what to the company?

5. Why is Savant "unable" to offer Gross any coffee?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does the fire extinguisher symbolize?

2. What are some examples in Scene 6 of Gross being continually kept of the loop?

3. What are some of the differences between Ballas and Gross in their experiences as Managing Director?

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

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

6. What is Ballas' new offer to Gross, and what is the cause of it as well as the reasoning behind it?

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

8. 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?

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

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

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

At a few key times in the play, sparks of hope present themselves. This is what keeps the audience hoping that Gross can turn things around, and it is also what makes them believe it may be possible.

1) Describe some examples of hope that Gross does not see or recognize at the time they are presented to him. What is the irony of this? What does it say about Gross' character?

2) The character of Maria is consistently a main source of hope for Gross. Why do you think Gross is inclined to receive positive messages from her more than from other characters? What is it about Maria's personality that allows her to break through the bureaucracy and provide the hope Gross desperately needs?

Essay Topic 3

One of the writing techniques used by Havel is the repeated cycles he creates for the story. This is a way for an event or situation to be "recycled" in order to make a point. Describe in detail an example of how events were repeated for which characters. Were the events exactly the same as when they appeared originally in the play? If not, what was different about them? Why did Havel choose to make these changes? For each repeated event, also include the point Havel makes with it.

(see the answer keys)

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