The Dark Room Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Rachel Seiffert
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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. What is Helmut's ritual when bombs fall in closely?

2. Where is Helmut born?

3. Where does Helmut find safety after the second bombing is over?

4. What is constantly on Helmut's mind that reminds him that he is a disappointment?

5. What is Lore's role in the family?

Short Essay Questions

1. Helmut is cast to the side with the weak during physical education. Helmut tries to "prove himself" for whom and why?

2. Helmut does not ever speak of Germany's purge of its own population. Does Helmut, as a common civilian, know about the prison camps in other parts of Germany? Does it make a difference in his beliefs?

3. Why is Lore's family moving around and hiding in the farm valley? From whom are they hiding?

4. When the family eats their soup, Juri shyly offers his bread to Tomas. What does this indicate about Juri and his family?

5. As part of Papi's pay, Gladigau takes family portraits while Helmut grows up. How do the family portraits play a role in this story and what progression is observed from when Helmut is a newborn to the last individual photo?

6. The new train station guard does not like Helmut immediately. Only after knowing Helmut's current situation, does he help Helmut. Why does the train station guard act this way? What does that say about the bombings in Berlin?

7. When Germany takes Paris, there is a large celebration. Mutti and Papi attend but they do not ask him to go. When they return they meet him at the train station and leave looking like a happy family. Explain Mutti and Papi's actions.

8. Tomas helps Lore and her family out of trouble and follows them. Why? What does he gain from the situation? Is he just being nice?

9. On the first day of their trip to Oma's, Juri twists an ankle. How does this foreshadow the rest of the journey?

10. The Third Reich is at its height when Helmut is a teenager. How does this age and Helmut's life affect his acceptance and loyalty to the Third Reich?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Lore and her siblings are children during WWII but are affected by its aftermath. Discuss where the children are coming from as Nazi children. What tribulations do they go through as Nazi children? How responsible are they for their affiliation? How are they punished even if they do not live in camps?

Essay Topic 2

Describe Mutti's observation in Helmut's individual photo. Why does she see pain in the individual photo but not the family photo? Is there really pain or something Mutti thinks up?

Essay Topic 3

Summarize Tomas character and discuss the significance of his role in the novel. Why does Seiffert write him as a thief who steals from a dead Jew? What does this signify about the war, post-war, to Lore?

(see the answer keys)

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