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 does Hana repeatedly ask Gross in Act 1, Scene 4?

2. Who does Gross talk to while he is waiting for Helena?

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

4. What is Act 1, Scene 3 trying to illustrate about Gross?

5. What is the goal of the higher-ups in explaining the necessity for Ptydepe?

Short Essay Questions

1. How is Lear's explanation of Ptydepe used to display the arrogance and self-indulgent actions of bureaucrats?

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

3. What subliminal warning does the character of Thumb bring from the author?

4. How is Gross manipulated again in Act 1, Scene 5?

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

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

7. What does the introduction of Ptydepe signal in the play as it pertains to Gross and his position within the company?

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

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

10. In the final scene of the play, what theme is brought to the forefront and what is the message Havel delivers?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The character of George, the Staff Watcher, is Havel's way of warning against what form of government control. Why is that role significant to the end result of what the bureaucracy in the play is after? Later on, as Gross becomes the Staff Watcher for a brief time, how does the role change? How does he fill the position differently than George? Finally, when the positions are switched yet again, what is the symbolic significance of the way George acts and Gross' place at the time? This essay should chronicle the Staff Watcher position from the beginning to the end of the play, describing its part in the story.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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