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 causing the declining importance of Ptydepe?

2. Why does Gross state that he would have rather kept his former position?

3. What reason does Gross give Maria for wanting to stay with the company?

4. What does Gross give to Ballas at his request in Act 2, Scene 9?

5. What does Gross think he has to earn at the end of Act 2, Scene 9?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

One of the writing techniques used by Havel is the repeated cycles he creates for the story. This is a way for an event or situation to be "recycled" in order to make a point. Describe in detail an example of how events were repeated for which characters. Were the events exactly the same as when they appeared originally in the play? If not, what was different about them? Why did Havel choose to make these changes? For each repeated event, also include the point Havel makes with it.

(see the answer keys)

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