The Comedians 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. At the police station, when Brown and Smith go to visit Jones, what does the Tonton Macoute guard do?

2. How often does the captain dine with the passengers while on their voyage?

3. Why, according to Philipot, did Jones die?

4. The bedrooms in the brothel are arranged in a long, low row. What is the name given to this arrangement of rooms?

5. What does the purser do with his "French letters"?

Short Essay Questions

1. From a literary aspect, what is the effect of portraying Jones as an actor who has not learned his lines well? Why does the author use this characterization throughout the book?

2. Jones is the mysterious guest whom Captain Concasseur is protecting at Mere Catherine's and the man who was occupied with Tin Tin. What is the effect of this surprise? How does it help to reveal Jones's character further?

3. In Part 1, Chapter 2, how is Brown and Martha's relationship portrayed? What is the irony of their situation?

4. Doctor Magiot is willing to help Brown plan an escape for Jones as well as maintain a facade of caring for Jones in order to explain his absence from public life. Why are these two men willing to take such risk? What does it say about their character?

5. With the thought that Doctor Philipot's spirit might be hovering around the body, hoping for an encouraging word of send-off, Brown purposely speaks trivial words about eating eggs in the morning. What does this tell the reader about his perception of death? How does it fit the tone of the book?

6. Once again, in Part 1, Chapter 4, Brown is asked to look out for Jones and any suspicious activity he may be involved in. How is this instance similar to the first? How does it differ? What changes might be attributed to a greater understanding of Jones's character?

7. When Mr. Smith sees Philipot's body in the pool, he thinks he is a sleeping beggar. How does this thought reflect on Mr. Smith's character? What about the fact that he wants to take money to the man?

8. From the conversation with his mother, what does Brown learn about his father? How is this knowledge in keeping with the family dynamic?

9. When Brown reaches the hotel, Joseph answers his call timidly, and with a bowed head tells him the story of Doctor Philipot. What does this tell the reader about Joseph's character?

10. Doctor Magiot's funeral oration for Philipot consists mostly of the consolation that he died a natural death, which is to say he was not murdered. Considering the political environment, is this a compliment? What about the dead man's sense of mathematics?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What role does Angel play in the novel? Could it be said that he acts as Brown's conscience, or is he merely an annoying child? Why is Martha so attached to him and how does this attachment change her relationship with Brown?

Essay Topic 2

Of his relationship with Martha, Brown says, "Like some wines, our love could neither mature nor travel." Find examples in the text which illustrate this. How was their love bound to the moment? How were they bound to Haiti? What clues tell the reader that their love will not last?

Essay Topic 3

Jones claims that there is no place for him outside Haiti. How is this statement also true of Brown? What characteristics does Brown possess that enable him to maneuver the intricacies of Haitian politics? It may be helpful to contrast him to Mr. Smith, who has no understanding of the workings of Haitian government and life.

(see the answer keys)

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