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 happens when Lore and her siblings must cross a river with a broken bridge?

2. What happens to Helmut's feelings about being a soldier in Section 4?

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

4. How does Helmut feel as the war progresses?

5. What opportunity opens up for Papi?

Short Essay Questions

1. Helmut notices the city is emptying. More people are leaving on the trains and less are returning. This is a mystery and Seiffert never explicitly offers an explanation. Why not?

2. Lore asks the woman for more food for her siblings but the woman initially responds with a look of possible fear. Why might the woman be afraid?

3. Describe Lore's role in the family.

4. When Lore offers to buy food from the woman who gives her bread and milk, she asks if Lore has anything other than money. Why does the woman not prefer money?

5. Refugees come through Berlin and some speak of a brutal Soviet army the size of a continent. Others deny their truths and say it is not so. Why is it hard to know what is true and what is not? Who is right?

6. Other than Lore, what do the children know of the current situation?

7. Germany attacks its neighbors and gains more lands that are prosperous. Neither Helmut nor anyone in his neighborhood seems to argue the Third Reich's actions. In fact, many boys are signing up to fight the war. Why would some Germans welcome the war and the push into other countries?

8. 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?

9. When the Americans question Lore, Tomas shows up with papers and tells them they are a family. What do the papers show and why does Seiffert mention a tattoo on Tomas' arm?

10. Helmut loses his parents and Gladigau is away. Helmut is often cold, hungry, and completely alone. How does he feel about the war at this stage?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Seiffert gives a unique perspective of WWII. The thought that goes through a soldier's mind, like Jozef, is different from those who experience the consequence from home, like Helmut. Interview a veteran who fought in combat. If an interview is not possible, find a first person account. What is the veteran's psyche during the war? How does the war change the veteran's ability to live amongst civilians? Now interview a civilian who survived a war. What is their psyche like during the war? After the war? Compare and contrast the psyches of the veteran and the civilian.

Essay Topic 2

Describe in detail and follow the progression of Lore's feelings for Tomas. How does she feel about him when she first sees him? How does she feel about Tomas when Juri asks about him on the ferry?

Essay Topic 3

Seiffert rarely specifies time and she never specifies certain ages. Discuss why Seiffert would want to keep places and timing general. How does this help the reader understand these stories are representative of many people and not just one person's story?

(see the answer keys)

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