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 character in Pygmalion is based in part on Henry Sweet?

2. To Shaw, what is the main advantage of Henry Sweet's "Current Shorthand"?

3. What does Sweet send Shaw?

4. When Liza comes to see Higgins in Act 2, what does she ask him to do?

5. How does Higgins make his money?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why are shorthand methods inadequate for ordinary use?

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

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

5. What does Higgins boast that he can do for the Flower Girl?

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

7. Describe Higgins.

8. Who are Alexander Melville Bell, Alexander J. Ellis, Tito Pagliardini, and Henry Sweet, and why are they heroes to Shaw?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Read the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. How is Higgins like Pygmalion? What other stories, movies, or television shows can you think of that are modeled on this same general plot? Why do you think people are fascinated by the idea of transformation or makeovers?

Essay Topic 2

Write an essay examining the attitudes toward love and marriage in the play.

Part 1) How does Shaw satirize, or make fun of, conventional attitudes toward love and marriage, for instance, through Higgins and Doolittle?

Part 2) What, according to Shaw in his Epilogue, is the balance of power men and women seek in marriage? What is an ideal marriage like?

Part 3) Why do some men never marry?

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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