The Complete Poems, 1927-1979 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. Who is the title character in "For C.W.B."

2. In "Lines Written in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook," what is the poet's attitude toward Fannie Farmer?

3. In "Pleasure Seas," what do those on the shore, in the plane, or on the yacht have in common?

4. Who cries for the mouse in "The Hanging of the Mouse"?

5. What are the Brothers of the Souls carrying in "From 'The Life and Death of a Severino""?

Short Essay Questions

1. In what style is Bandeira's poem "Brazilian Tragedy" composed?

2. Why do you think Bishop chooses animals to symbolize the players in "The Hanging of the Mouse"?

3. In Carlos Drummond de Andrade's "Infancy," why does the author refer to Robinson Crusoe as "the long story that never comes to an end"?

4. What do the various animals symbolize in "A Word with You"?

5. How does Octavio Paz view the beginning of a new year in "January First"?

6. What is the meaning of the simple, repeated incident in Drummond de Andrade's "In the Middle of the Road"?

7. Why did Bishop write "The Mountain" in the first person?

8. What is the tone of "Lines Written in the Fannie Farmer Cookbook"?

9. What does the porch symbolize in "Sunday at Key West"?

10. What is the effect on the reader of the surprise ending in Vinicius de Moraes' "Sonnet of Intimacy"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Bishop's writing was not immune to the politics of the day. "The Hanging of the Mouse" and "Lullaby for the Cat" deal to some extent with the political times in which they were written. Discuss Bishop's unique approach to politics and its effectiveness. How can the reader tell that these are political poems? How does Bishop try to mask this fact? What is her ultimate goal in writing these poems--are they merely art, or an attempt to effect political change?

Essay Topic 2

What is Bishop's attitude toward the characters in "Exchanging Hats"? Is it objective or judgmental? Support your claim with specific quotations from the poem. Does her attitude seem out of character for Bishop, considering the sense of humor she displays in other poems? Do you think her attitude has to do with the fact that the trend she witnesses is started by an "unfunny uncle"? Might she view things differently if the trend had been started by someone she admired?

Essay Topic 3

How are the poems composed in Bishop's youth unique in the collection? Do you see a difference in maturity between these and the later poems? Are there any clues in the earlier poems that predict what kind of poet Bishop will become? What differences do you see in terms of subject matter and approach? Do you think it was appropriate that the editors included poetry composed in Bishop's teen years, before she gained recognition? How would the reader's appreciation of Bishop as a writer be different if these poems had been omitted from the book?

(see the answer keys)

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