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 is the overall point that Havel is making in Act 1, Scene 5?

2. What is Gross trying to get accomplished in Act 1, Scene 3?

3. Who is Stroll?

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

5. Where does Scene 2 take place?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is different about Gross and his approach in the very beginning of Act 2, Scene 10?

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

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

4. What important message does Maria give to Gross at the beginning of the second part of Act 2, Scene 9, part 2 about winning, and how does it apply to his situation?

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

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

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

8. How does Gross justify his situation to himself towards the end of Act 1, Scene 4?

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

10. What are some more examples of Ballas' parallel experience to Gross' time as Managing Director that are given in the first part of Act 2, Scene 9?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the second half of the play, Ballas and Gross switch roles. In dealing with the same frustrations, which differences in Ballas' character influence the way he handles things? What results does the different approach have? What does Gross realize as he sees Ballas deal with the issues? In detail, outline the significant differences in both characters, including how they changed throughout the play, yet still stayed the same in many ways. Use examples from the play as a reference.

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

Describe the characteristics of a satirical play. Why is comedy often used along with satire to make a point? Use examples from The Memorandum as references to your description. Also, explain what the target of the satire in the play is.

(see the answer keys)

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