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. In modern times, what is a term used to describe the act of portraying something negative in a positive way?

2. Who is Stroll?

3. What does Ballas manipulate Gross into admitting in Act 1, Scene 6?

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

5. What do Ballas and Gross argue about?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How do Stroll and Savant talk about Maria and what do they infer about Gross?

4. What is it about the letter Gross receives that gets his attention, why is it significant to the play, and how does Gross react to it?

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

6. What do Hana's habits and actions symbolize?

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

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

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

10. What significant discovery does Ballas make at the end of Act 2, Scene 7?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Many characters in the play are given names to illustrate their specific place in the story, in the company, and in Havel's central theme in general. Sometimes these names are also references to other people or things.

1) Choose at least four characters and describe in detail why their names accomplish what Havel sets out to show with each of them. Use examples from the play to provide the reasoning for how you draw your conclusions.

2) Do you think that Havel also chose these names to add a comedic element to the characters as well? Why or why not? If that is the case, how does he achieve this?

Essay Topic 3

Manipulation is one of the main weapons used against Gross throughout the entire play. Using several examples from the play, describe in detail how Gross is manipulated on a variety of different levels. What is the objective of the manipulation? Why is it effective? Overall, why is manipulation necessary to the way a bureaucratic system functions? How does the play illustrate the way manipulation can lead to control over someone?

(see the answer keys)

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