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. What does Higgins ask Mrs. Pearce to do with Liza's clothing?

2. What does Higgins tempt Liza with just as she is about to leave?

3. What does Higgins say he can do for the Flower Girl (Liza)?

4. Why doesHenry Sweet not become more prominent?

5. How do the bystanders treat Liza when she becomes upset?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does the Flower Girl become upset at the note-taker? What is she most likely afraid of?

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

3. What does Higgins think of the Flower Girl's accent? What humorous hyperbole does he use in speaking to her?

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

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

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

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

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

9. How are Clara and her mother different?

10. Why does the English language need to be reformed, according to Shaw?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay in which you examine the negative consequences of having money and social status in Pygmalion. Liza's father, Alfred Doolittle, is poor but does not wish to have money. Why? When he comes into money, why does he blame Higgins for delivering him into the hands of middle-class morality? Does he make a good point? What are some of the drawbacks to having money? What are the restrictions of being in a particular social class?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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