The Beautiful Room Is Empty Test | Final 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. How does the narrator meet Sean?

2. With whom does the narrator begin a relationship during this Summer?

3. What will be the barrier to any relationship between Lou and the narrator?

4. What is notable about the woman in #139?

5. How does the narrator behave during the event in #163?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Sean's comment about a group of men having sex in a public restroom as being "subhuman" have a particular sting for the narrator?

2. What is the significance of the author's using the present tense for scene in which the narrator engages in group sex in the subway restroom?

3. Who is Sean and how did the narrator meet him?

4. How do the narrator's views of himself change according to whose perspective he is viewed in?

5. How does the narrator's decreasing shame mirror what is going on in the gay community in general?

6. What happens to the narrator after Sean is gone?

7. How can Sean's "subhuman" comment be viewed in another context regarding the narrator's letting go of the shame he used to have for his behavior and desires?

8. Who is Lou and how does the narrator meet him?

9. How are the narrator's parents portrayed in the book and what do they want most for their son?

10. Why is the New York experience so important to the narrator's longing to be part of a community?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Substance abuse seems to be an unnamed character in the book. How pervasive is the abuse? Why does it have such a prevalent place in the characters' lives? How does it affect the abusers? How does it affect those impacted by the abusers? Explain how an inanimate object or characteristic can be a character.

Essay Topic 2

Explain the significance of the novel's title--"The Beautiful Room is Empty". Why did White choose this title? Is there an understood message in the title? Is there another title you can suggest that might be more appropriate?

Essay Topic 3

Describe the major settings for the novel. Why does White use the settings he does? What is the time period of the story? How important is the time period to the attitudes and issues of the characters?

(see the answer keys)

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