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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. In light of Beta's poetry, how does Milosz treat the modern artist's potential?
2. In Chapter 5, how is Beta characterized?
3. The state methods of teaching give the illusion of what?
4. At a fairly young age, how did Beta die?
5. When man is faced with constant death and when life seems meaningless, how does dialectical materialism seem?
Short Essay Questions
1. Why does Milosz go to such pains to describe Gamma, when the other writers found in his book are given only a few sentences of description?
2. Rather than blaming these four men for the choices they made, Milosz says they were slaves to history. How is this true?
3. Nearly six years of Nazi rule had radically changed people's ideas of private property. Did this help or harm the communist idea of common property?
4. How does the party's definition of a reactionary reduce him to a comic level?
5. Why is Gamma called "the slave of history"? Whose interests does he serve?
6. 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?
7. Milosz states that the goals of the workers are far different from those of the state. How is this so?
8. Beta's anger toward mankind became directed toward a fear of self-deception. How did this happen?
9. Beta saw life only in terms of society rather than in terms of individual man. How was this his downfall?
10. How were Beta and the people of his generation fallen into dark hopelessness?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
Throughout the book, the converts to communism decry the evils of capitalism, even going so far as to say capitalism led directly to Hitlerism (pg. 128, Beta's assertion). Is this necessarily true? If communism leads, as history has proven, to a dictatorship, then where does capitalism lead?
Essay Topic 2
Why is art outside the public mind important? Milosz says that when man thinks only in the collective body, he can no longer think other than what is necessary. In other words, personal observations and thoughts are cut off. Why, then, does he place such importance on creating art other than what is strictly necessary?
Essay Topic 3
Milosz called Beta's war stories terrifying because they were told simply and truthfully, almost brutally. How is it possible to tell such stories with so little emotion? To what degree is empathy a necessary quality of stories? Is it possible for the reader, removed by many decades and a culture, to experience a similar lack of sympathy?
This section contains 1,258 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)