The Defense Test | Mid-Book 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. How does Luzhin treat the guests at his birthday?

2. How old is young Luzhin at the beginning of the novel?

3. During their walk the morning after the party, what does Luzhin's father suggest he take up?

4. Where does Luzhin find the magazines where he studies chess problems?

5. Where does Luzhin find himself, as he tries to walk toward where he wants to go?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Luzhin's father decide that the boy he wants to write about, based on his son, will die young?

2. How does Luzhin behave on walks with his future wife and her mother?

3. Who does Luzhin nearly run into on the first day he skips school?

4. Before playing with his son, how does Luzhin's father consider his own chess abilities?

5. How does Luzhin's future wife feel about introducing him to her family?

6. How does Luzhin's father feel when he finally hears that his son is a prodigy?

7. How does Valentinov view Luzhin?

8. What ability does Luzhin compare his ability to read chess notation with?

9. What problem does Luzhin have getting to his game with his final rival?

10. How is Luzhin affected by spectators at his chess games?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the structure of the novel.

1) What divides the novel into sections or parts? What roles do these parts play over the course of the novel?

2) How does Luzhin develop over the course of the novel? How does he change?

3) Why does the novel begin in Luzhin's boyhood?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the portrayal of women in the novel.

1) What is Luzhin's mother like? How does she represent women in the novel? How does she compare with Luzhin's aunt?

2) What is Luzhin's wife like? How does she represent women in the novel? What are her priorities and abilities?

3) How are minor women characters portrayed in the novel? What do women, in general, seem to be like in the novel?

Essay Topic 3

After Luzhin's breakdown, he goes through a period of retirement from chess, in which he in many way relives his childhood. Discuss this repetition of the past and the air of fatalism it has.

1) Is Luzhin fated to be drawn back to chess? What forces seem to draw him irrevocably to chess?

2) Is Luzhin replaying his childhood because the forces of his character naturally cause him to have the same relationships and do the same types of things? Is this fate? Can Luzhin change? Can the world around him change?

3) In what ways is Luzhin's childhood different from his adulthood with his wife? How does Luzhin change? Does this show any ability to break free of the repetition?

(see the answer keys)

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