Pygmalion 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. Which of the following is among Liza's treasured possessions?

2. Which character in Pygmalion is based in part on Henry Sweet?

3. Who is Robert Bridges and what does he have in common with Higgins?

4. What does the Flower Girl call the Gentleman?

5. To what does Higgins compare Liza?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Liza likely mean when she says "I'm a good girl, I am"? Why does she say this?

2. What should all great art be, according to Shaw? Do you agree? What does Shaw hope his play will teach?

3. Why are shorthand methods inadequate for ordinary use?

4. What are three methods of phonetic shorthand that Shaw mentions in Pygmalion, and what are they used for?

5. Describe Higgins's laboratory. What does it reveal about his character?

6. Who are some of the most important people in England, according to Shaw? Why do you think this is so, again, according to Shaw?

7. Describe the Flower Girl.

8. How are Clara and her mother different?

9. What does Freddy do at the beginning of Act 1 that shows poor manners?

10. Why does Liza's father come to see Higgins?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write a compare and contrast essay about Higgins and Pickering. In the essay, compare the way Higgins treats Liza to the way Pickering treats her, giving specific examples and quotations from the play. Consider, too, the way both men behave toward other characters in the play. Is Higgins right that both men treat Liza the same as they would anyone else? Which man is more of a gentleman? Explain.

Essay Topic 2

Critics of Shaw often comment that the servants in his plays have better sense than their masters. Write an essay in which you examine the role of Mrs. Pearce in the play, looking in particular at the way she argues with Higgins in Act 2 over what should be done with Liza. Does Mrs. Pearce have better sense than Higgins? Explain, using examples from the play.

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay about the idea of "small talk" and social hypocrisy in Pygmalion.

Part 1) In Act 3, Higgins talks about how ridiculous small talk is: "You see, we're all savages, more or less. We're supposed to be civilized and cultured--to know all about poetry and philosophy and art and science, and so on; but how many of us know even the meanings of these names?" Shortly afterward, Liza shocks everyone by speaking of taboo topics and using a curse word in polite conversation. Clara is delighted by this slap in the face of "late Victorian prudery."

Part 2) What specifically does Liza say to shock everyone? Do you think Shaw agrees that her talk is shocking and rude?

Part 3) What might their polite, "civilized and cultured" conversation have been like if Liza had not come?

Part 4) What do you think is Shaw's opinion of polite small talk, and of "late Victorian prudery" that governs what is and is not appropriate in small talk?

(see the answer keys)

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