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 does Helmut enjoy most about the train station?

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

3. Who provides food rations throughout the German area that Lore and her siblings are traveling through?

4. What does Lore hear at the hideout when she listens out the window?

5. Where does Helmut make a home after his is destroyed?

Short Essay Questions

1. Helmut catalogues Berlin through his snapshots. For months, Helmut sees the emptying of the city. When Gladigau interprets the pictures, he sees Berlin as the home it always is. What does Helmut learn about photography from this experience?

2. Describe Lore's role in the family.

3. Mutti and Papi love their son, but there is a stubborn denial that there is anything wrong with Helmut. What does it finally take them to accept the truth and how do they handle it?

4. 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?

5. Helmut has the opportunity to work as a soldier five years into the war. What are Helmut's thoughts and feelings towards being a soldier?

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

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

8. 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?

9. Although Seiffert does not say much about the farmers, what are the implied feelings of the farmers?

10. Helmut is not strong or smart. Yet, there are indications that Helmut is clever about getting what he wants. Give an example of how Helmut shows his clever ways.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Micha knows very little about Opa before his research about his war's past. Micha was not even old enough to attend Opa's funeral. Yet, Micha feels shame about Opa's actions and is too embarrassed to admit his family past when he visits Belarus. Why does Micha feel shame for someone he knows very little about? What is blood relations and family history so important to Micha?

Essay Topic 2

The novel touches upon lots of judgments and racism. Compare and contrast generational differences to these issues. How do the Omas feel? How do children of the veterans feel? Grandchildren?

Essay Topic 3

Helmut speaks of loyalty and pride in regards to the Third Reich. However, Helmut is human and more complex than having a simple faith. How does Helmut show indications that his loyalty are also feelings that are self-serving and not for the people of Germany?

(see the answer keys)

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