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 Lore's role in the family?

2. What are usually Lore's first and last thoughts of the day?

3. What does Lore have to give up to get more food and shelter for a night?

4. Who is Lore's family hiding from when they go into hiding?

5. What motivates Helmut to exercise his arm?

Short Essay Questions

1. At night, when the bombs are close, Helmut shouts at the noise. Why does he feel this need? What does it do for him?

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

3. 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?

4. When the farmer's son taunts Lore and pushes her down, the twins throw rocks at him. What does this show about the children?

5. 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?

6. 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?

7. 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?

8. 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?

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

10. When Lore is sure Tomas is asleep, she buries the last remaining keepsakes of Vati. Why does she do this when they seemed safe in her apron?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare and contrast racism during and after war. Who is harassed? In what way? Why?

Essay Topic 2

Seiffert writes over many generations in the novel. World War II ended in 1945 yet Micha is affected in the late 1990s when he learns about his Opa. Write about how history affects the present. This paper may take one of two paths, politically or personally. Choose only one avenue.

Essay Topic 3

Elena notes that for her love of a murderer her punishment is having no children. Detail why Elena might feel she should be punished for her husband's action. How is love and punishment related?

(see the answer keys)

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