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. At the end of Act 2, Higgins is shown teaching Liza a lesson. What specifically does Higgins teach Liza?

2. Why can't Liza read what Higgins writes?

3. What does Shaw try to do for Sweet?

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

5. Which elements of the English alphabet have no agreed speech value?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does the Flower Girl do at the end of Act 1 that shows she has a sense of pride and dignity about her?

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

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

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

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

7. Why are shorthand methods inadequate for ordinary use?

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

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

10. What does Higgins's housekeeper, Mrs. Pearce, think about the plan? Who seems to have a more sensible view of the situation, Higgins or Mrs. Pearce?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay about the ending of Pygmalion.

Part 1) Considering the ending of the play, what do you think Shaw's attitude is toward the traditional "happy ending" of most romances?

Part 2) Why, according to Shaw, does his play not end the way most people might expect?

Part 3) Would the play be more satisfying if Liza had married Higgins instead of Freddy? Why, or why not?

Part 4) (optional) If you have seen it, you may consider the slightly different, more "Hollywood" ending in the movie version of the play, My Fair Lady. Compare the ending of the play with the ending of the movie. Which do you prefer, and why?

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 symbolism in the play.

Part 1) One of Liza's treasured possessions is a birdcage. Consider what a birdcage symbolizes in Liza's life. For instance, what imprisons Liza, and when does she ultimately become free? Examine in particular her conversations with Higgins in Acts 4 and 5.

Part 2) Higgins has a dish of chocolates on the piano. In Act 4, Liza puts her ring into the dish. Why does she do this? What do the chocolates and the ring symbolize for Liza?

(see the answer keys)

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