Rabelais and His World 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. Did the "unofficial" and "official" forms of speech ever coincide?

2. Why, according to Bakhtin, is Rabelais' parody of the Church not considered heresy?

3. In the Prologue of the Third Book, to which contemporary events does Rabelais allude?

4. According to Bakhtin, what is the function of art?

5. What does Bakhtin argue is the role of dialogue?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does the speaker of the prologue of the Third Book invite only good men to drink?

2. What is the significance of Friar John's description of the monastery belfry as "fecund"?

3. What is the significance of the two Russian eras of history to which Bakhtin refers in Chapter Three?

4. What is the role of games in Rabelais' work?

5. How does Rabelais use the element of popular speech known as "coq-à-l'âne"?

6. What is the significance of the figure of the androgyne in Rabelais' novel?

7. How are being drenched in urine or covered in excrement treated in Rabelais' novel?

8. What is the connection between the banquet and speech?

9. How is Bakhtin's book "double-voiced," as Michael Holquist asserts it is?

10. In general, what happened to the use of humor in literature after Rabelais' time?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

How does Rabelais use myth in his work? What types of myth does he draw from (classical, popular, spiritual, etc.)? How are allusions to mythology a part of carnivalesque culture? Cite at least three specific examples of identifiable myths which Rabelais alludes to, alters, parodies, travesties, or repeats.

Essay Topic 2

Explore Bakhtin's study of language in Rabelais. What is "vernacular" or "colloquial" language? How is it different from "official" languages, like that of the Church or of the monarchy? How is verbal communication different from written communication, and who or what does each type of communication serve? How does Rabelais keep his language lively and never dull? How does Rabelais transform names, nicknames, proper nouns, and all other forms of speech?

Essay Topic 3

What is a "blazon"? How are blazons part of the carnivalesque and grotesque traditions of folk humor? What sorts of people or things were turned into blazons, and why? How is the theme of duality related to the blazon? How does Rabelais employ blazons in his novel?

(see the answer keys)

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