The Memorandum Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is Pillar's response when he is asked by Ballas if he knows Ptydepe?

2. Gross admits that he has always been more of a dreamer than what?

3. What happens to take away from the power Gross thought he had at the beginning of Act 2, Scene 10?

4. According to Maria, what is the key to winning a fight?

5. What point does Havel make about Ptydepe in Act 2, Scene 8?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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