The Idiot 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. What is Myshkin's reaction to Rogozhin's marriage proposal?

2. What is Myshkin's explanation for why Nastassya left Rogozhin?

3. Who is home when Myshkin visits the Yephanchins' house, after leaving Rogozhin?

4. What story does Ganja's father tell?

5. What does Rogozhin's mother do to Myshkin?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Nastassya say initially to Myshkin's proposal?

2. What does Yephanchin say that he did to make up for his guilty feelings?

3. How does Myshkin describe Aglaya?

4. How does Myshkin respond when Adelaide asks him about falling in love?

5. How does the General treat Prince Myshkin?

6. What does Rogozhin describe as having happened between him and Nastassya before she left him?

7. How does Madam Yephanchin react to Myshkin going off to collect his inheritance?

8. What does Myshkin say that he does not care about, before he proposes to Nastassya?

9. How does Ganja's father embarrass him?

10. What does Ferdyshchenko describe doing to make sure someone else is blamed for his own theft?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss religion in the novel.

1) What stories do the characters tell about religion and about God? What do these stories mean? Why does the author include them in the novel?

2) What do Myshkin and Rogozhin say about the religious painting in Rogozhin's house? What is the significance of the painting? Does it reveal anything about Rogozhin's relationship to religion? What about the crosses that the two men exchange? What is the religious significance of the crosses?

3) How does Myshkin react when he learns his benefactor turned to Catholicism before his death? What does this say about Myshkin's attitude toward religion? How is Myshkin's attitude toward religion different than the other characters' attitudes?

Essay Topic 2

Much of the action in the novel happens at parties and social gatherings. Discuss the importance of parties and social gatherings in the novel.

1) Why does so much of the action of the novel take place at parties and social gatherings? How do the characters react differently in these social situations, than in private?

2) What role do parties and social gatherings fulfill in the culture of St. Petersburg? How do they affect the social relationships and social order of the characters?

3) How are events at parties and social gatherings reviewed and critiqued by the people attending the gatherings? How does this change the consequences of those events, which are witnessed by groups of people?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the role that society's criticism and approval plays in the characters' lives in the novel.

1) What types of actions are criticized and approved of by society in the novel? How does the society as a whole make its criticism or approval felt to the characters?

2) How do characters respond to societal pressure or societal disapproval? How does it influence characters' actions? How do the characters respond to society's expectations and approval? Do characters actively try to gain societal approval?

3) How is Myshkin perceived by society? When and how is he criticized or approved? How does societal criticism or approval affect Myshkin?

(see the answer keys)

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