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. Where does Act 1, Scene 3 take place?

2. Who gets quizzed along with Gross on their knowledge of Ptydepe?

3. What is Gross's new title?

4. Where does Scene 2 take place?

5. What does Gross give Ballas and Pillar?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What is it about Gross' personality that makes him susceptible to Ballas' manipulation?

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

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

6. 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?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How does the final scene display the need to confront the attempt to suppress individualism and freedom at any cost? Which characters in the scene illustrate that the most? Why do you think Havel chose those characters to make the strongest point of the play?

Essay Topic 2

A recurring theme that Havel uses through his characters is the "spin" that they provide in order to justify their actions and in some cases, hide their motives.

1) Describe in detail how Lear uses spin to legitimatize Ptydepe. Why does he use this technique when introducing and explaining the new language? What is the overall purpose for his deception?

2) Besides the example of Lear's lectures, what other time in the play was spin used to justify something or as a means to an end? Which character used it? Again, why was this tactic chosen for that specific situation?

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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