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. Why is it said, in Part 1, Chapter 4, that Papa Doc sometimes watches the slow deaths of some of his victims?

2. What is Brown's plan to get through the road-blocks with Jones?

3. At the beginning of Part 1, Chapter 5, what distractions does Brown experience?

4. When Mr. and Mrs. Smith arrive at the hotel, what room do they stay in?

5. When Brown wants to get Jones released from jail, what advice does Petit Pierre give him?

Short Essay Questions

1. Petit Pierre is introduced at the beginning of Part 1, Chapter 2. What purpose does his character play? How is he similar to Brown?

2. What is the purpose of the night of entertainment aboard the ship, in Part 1, Chapter 1?

3. After visiting Martha and her husband at the embassy, what drives Brown to Mere Catherine's? Is he satisfied there?

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. After Philipot's body is removed from the pool, Joseph cleans the pool so Mr. Smith can swim. Mr. Smith passes very close to where the body had crouched, and Brown cringes to think of the two scenarios. How is this, in a succinct fashion, an indication of the story?

6. The Smiths knew that when Mr. Smith ran for president, he had very little chance of succeeding. Why are they still proud that he ran? How does this pride explain their characters?

7. At the end of the book, Jones is given a military funeral with the rest of the guerrilla fighters who were killed. Is this honorable or simply ironic? How does it fit Jones's life?

8. Martha and Brown rendezvous for the first time in her car by the Columbus statue. What is the nature of this meeting and how does it set the tone for their relationship?

9. When Angel has the mumps, Brown visits him at Martha's insistence, and this is the only time the two people interact for any length of time. What is the effect of this meeting? How is Angel portrayed?

10. Throughout Chapter 1 of Part 1, the captain advises people to stay in touch with their respective consulates. Why is this, and how does it set the tone of the book?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Are Mr. and Mrs. Smith realistic characters? That is, can the reader take them seriously? Find examples within the book of their naive opinions and of their realistic ones. Which kind of opinion occurs more frequently? How do they fit with Brown's opinion that life is a farce and its characters are comedians?

Essay Topic 2

How does Jones's funeral tie the story together? Include all the characters who are present and the ways they react to the funeral. How is it fitting that all characters are brought together for this funeral? Can the honorable funeral be a form of forgiveness for Jones's lies?

Essay Topic 3

The new Secretary for Social Welfare is the only government official who has any real part in the novel. Examine his character traits as presented by Brown in his conversation and actions. How does his character reflect the whole government? How is he a representative of Papa Doc? Is his official title hopeful or ironic?

(see the answer keys)

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