Portnoy's Complaint 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 does the narrator's father accuse his son-in-law of being?

2. What is all the unconscious can do, according to Freud?

3. Who tells the narrator, "They worship a Jew, do you know that?"

4. What is the name of the company for whom the narrator's father works?

5. What is the narrator's mother's name?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who does the narrator's father hold up as someone to emulate? Why?

2. What resentments does the narrator recall following the family's move from Jersey City?

3. What does the narrator suspect about the shikse who came to his family's house? Why?

4. What does the narrator's father urge him to take lessons in? Why?

5. How did the narrator's father feel about his job? How did he express his feelings to his family?

6. What became of the narrator's cousin? Why?

7. Who is the shikse who came to the young Alex's family's home? Why?

8. What do Alex and his parents argue about after their dinner in Chapter 4?

9. How does the narrator describe his sister in their early years?

10. How does the narrator feel about the laws of Judaism?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the theme of religion in Portnoy's Complaint. How does the narrator express his issues with Judaism? What are his feelings toward Christianity? How does religion tie into the other themes in the novel?

Essay Topic 2

Compare and contrast the narrator's experiences of sexuality in America to those of his experiences in Israel. What significance is implied by these differences?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the story of The Monkey. How does the timeline of actual events differ with the narrative of the protagonist? What does this inform us of Alex's character?

(see the answer keys)

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