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 can Higgins guess about people?

2. Why is Clara annoyed with her mother?

3. Which of the following describes the Gentleman (later identified as Pickering)?

4. Why does Shaw's attempt to help Sweet fail?

5. Why doesn't Sweet's shorthand become popular?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. Describe Higgins.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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