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 Maria offer Helena in Act 1, scene 3?

2. What does Stroll tell Gross is necessary in order to prevent any further individualism?

3. In Act 1, Scene 6, what is the one signal of hope that Gross does not see, symbolizing that he has lost all hope in his current situation?

4. Who does Helena introduce herself as?

5. What is Gross rumored to be using inappropriately?

Short Essay Questions

1. Where does Gross pass through in Act 2, Scene 8, what is he carrying, and what does that represent?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Maria's new independence provides an optimistic ending of the play for the audience. What does it symbolize, not just for the character, but also for the main theme of the entire play? How does her departure symbolize hope? What does it say about freedom in general as it relates to independence?

Essay Topic 2

As the play ends, there are two possible outcomes for Gross based on the decision he makes. Use the following format to present a case for both. Make sure to include examples from the play to support your cases.

1) First, explain why Gross' decision means that he will most likely never be able to make a difference at the company, and eventually might even stop trying altogether.

2) Second, explain why Gross' decision means that he will continue to fight from within the company, and eventually make a difference by stopping the bureaucracy, and gaining his independence in the process.

3) Finally, explain what will happen in your opinion. Which one of the above cases do you agree with and why?

Essay Topic 3

Thumb is an essential part of the bureaucratic system, even though he seems largely unaware of it. What is his specific role in the play and in the larger theme of the story? Which character traits allow him to fulfill that role? What are the more serious dangers that Thumb represents a warning against?

(see the answer keys)

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