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

Explain how laughter permeates every aspect of Renaissance folk culture, as Bakhtin argues it does. Cite specific examples from the text regarding the carnivalesque, the grotesque, official/unofficial modes of speech, and the ambivalence of certain forms and causes of laughter. Do these portrayals point to a greater "truth," as Bakhtin would say?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the theme of debasement in Medieval and Renaissance folk culture. How was debasement associated with the lower stratum of the body? Who or what were targets of debasement? How was debasement or degradation accomplished? How is humor associated with debasement? What is the ambivalent nature of debasement in folk culture?

Essay Topic 3

Choose three main characters from Rabelais' novel and explain the meanings of their names (for example, Gargantua, Pantagruel, Panurge, King Anarchus, Friar John, Lord Basche, etc.) Discuss any connotations their names may have, any allusions to people, places, historical events, or mythology, and what their names represent in the context of carnivalesque folk culture.

(see the answer keys)

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