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 do Stroll and Savant offer as proof for their theory that Gross "lusts after" Maria?

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

3. Where does Act 1, Scene 3 take place?

4. What does Gross give Ballas and Pillar?

5. What does Gross carry with him throughout Scene 2?

Short Essay Questions

1. What possibility does Lear's empty classroom at the end of Act 2, Scene 8 symbolize?

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

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

4. Explain the symbolic meanings behind some of the characters introduced in Act 1, Scene 3.

5. What is both ironic and significant about Pillar's outburst at the end of Act 2, Scene 10?

6. What are some examples of the familiarity of Ballas' morning as Managing Director and what is it similar to?

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

8. What is important about Maria's gesture to Gross at the end of Act 1, Scene 6, and what is the irony in it?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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