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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. When man is faced with constant death and when life seems meaningless, how does dialectical materialism seem?
2. In Chapter 5, how is Beta characterized?
3. In Chapter 8, how does the party treat whatever is not expressed?
4. Why was Gamma's writing weak?
5. What was the end result of Gamma's poetry?
Short Essay Questions
1. Milosz opens Chapter VI with a description of Vilna as it existed during his childhood. Is this simply to introduce Gamma or is there another reason?
2. Gamma did not even try to save his family when they were deported to Siberia. How is this a vivid example of the communist attitude toward individual lives?
3. Why is Gamma called "the slave of history"? Whose interests does he serve?
4. Beta saw life only in terms of society rather than in terms of individual man. How was this his downfall?
5. How were Beta's stories a fitting insight into his nihilist worldview?
6. Milosz writes that Delta could not (or would not) distinguish between truth and fable, even in his personal life. Is this the kind of mind the Party would have wanted?
7. Milosz calls Beta's reaction to the concentration camp life sadistic. How is this true?
8. Rather than blaming these four men for the choices they made, Milosz says they were slaves to history. How is this true?
9. How are the peasants, in several ways, the most helpless class of people?
10. How was Delta able to play the game that the center demanded of him--and be better at it?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
Several people in The Captive Mind believe that life without religion, philosophy, and art is not worth living. Is this true? Are there necessary things which this list does not include or, conversely, is the list too long? Be sure to define the terms clearly (e.g., is art a painting hung on the wall, or is it the beauty found throughout the world?)
Essay Topic 2
What is the relationship between Western and Eastern communism? How do the citizens of each sphere think about and react to each other? Find specific examples of their current interactions, and project the outcome of these to the future. Will they always look at the world through such disparate viewpoints?
Essay Topic 3
Though many human interactions are characterized by some degree of acting, the citizens of Soviet countries are forced to take this to an extreme. What does this tell us about the relationship between communist ideals and the individual? What should the role of government be in an individual's life? To what degree is this a perversion of how it should be? Or is this justified in the name of communist ideals?
This section contains 1,222 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)