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 Act 1, Scene 5, what does Lear attempt to illustrate about Ptydepe?

2. What overall theme does the author use the office to illustrate?

3. What do Stroll and Savant remark about Maria?

4. What leads to Ballas and Gross switching positions?

5. What does Ballas constantly look to Pillar for?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Havel use the reference of a theater to 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 are some examples in Scene 6 of Gross being continually kept of the loop?

5. What are two main issues that Gross has with Ptydepe in Act 1, Scene 1?

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

7. In the final scene of the play, what theme is brought to the forefront and what is the message Havel delivers?

8. 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?

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

10. What is significant about Thumb's interaction with Lear in Act 2, Scene 11?

Essay 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

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

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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