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 system does Shaw use to write his Preface?

2. How does Higgins make his money?

3. What does Higgins give Liza in Act 2 when she begins to cry?

4. What is one of Shaw's purposes in writing this play?

5. What city is the setting of Shaw's play?

Short Essay Questions

1. What would, in Shaw's opinion, be a prodigious advancement in the English language? Do you agree or disagree? Explain.

2. Describe the Flower Girl.

3. What makes some English people despise others? What can we infer would solve this problem?

4. Who is the note-taker, and what is he actually doing?

5. What does Higgins do for the Flower Girl? What prompts him to do so? What does this act suggest about Higgins?

6. Why, according to Shaw, is it important that people be trained scientifically to lose their accents, rather than simply learning by imitation?

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

8. Why does Liza become upset when Mrs. Pearce takes her up for a bath? What does this incident show about Liza?

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

10. Who is the Gentleman in the first act, and what do he and the note-taker have in common?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay examining the theme of manners in Pygmalion.

Part 1) Evaluate Higgins's statement from Act 5, "The secret is not having good manners or bad manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another." What does he mean by this? Do you agree with him?

Part 2) Do you think Shaw agrees with him on the subject of manners? For instance, is there something honest about the rude way Higgins behaves, and something hypocritical about the "polite" manners of other people in the play?

Part 3) Which characters in the play behave the same to everyone, and which characters treat people differently depending on the class they belong to? Explain.

Essay Topic 2

In the Preface to Pygmalion, Shaw says that all great art should be didactic; that is, it should teach something. What does Shaw hope his play will teach people--both about language and about how reforming it might help society? Do you think the play is successful at communicating the intended message? Write an essay about this topic, using quotations from the Preface as well as from the rest of the play.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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