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 kind of a party is going on in Act 1, Scene 6?

2. What is Gross rumored to be using inappropriately?

3. What is significant about the examples Lear uses for the word, "boo?"

4. Who does Ballas point out is in control of Ptydepe?

5. At the beginning of the play, what kind of letter does Gross receive?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Maria's locating a new job for Gross say about her as a character, and what does Gross' reason for staying with the company say about him as a character?

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

3. What subliminal warning does the character of Thumb bring from the author?

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

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

6. Describe two main methods that Ballas uses in Act 1, Scene 4 to get Gross to comply?

7. 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?

8. How does Lear explain the complexities of Ptydepe to the class?

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

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

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

In Scene 5 of Act 1, an important point is made with the correlation between Gross' pursuit of knowledge (the translation of the memo) and his lack of knowledge. This creates a never ending circle where no logical way out exits for Gross.

1) Explain in detail what the significance of the knowledge is to the play in general, and in the scene specifically. Also, describe the irony of Gross' situation. What does the fact that he cannot answer the questions correctly symbolize? His lack of answers also displays a lack of something else. What is it and is why is it important to the point Havel is making about bureaucracy overall?

2) Staying with the theme of knowledge, which characters are allowed to have it? Do they really possess it, or is it only a perception portrayed to the characters that are kept from knowledge? Why is this necessary for the people to retain their power?

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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