The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary Test | Final Test - Hard

Simon Winchester
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 137 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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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. Whose hostility faded for religion over time?

2. How did the author describe Murray's work in Chapter 8, Annulated, Art, Brick-Tea, Buckwheat?

3. Why did Hall not come to the great dictionary dinner?

4. How many more years after the publishing of the first installment would it actually take for Murray to finish the Oxford English Dictionary?

5. After the first installment, how long did Murray believe it would take him to finish the entire book?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is relevant about the fact that Minor was a fan of Huxley, particularly his idea of agnosticism?

2. The author compares Murray to a general on a battlefield. Why?

3. What does Murray's Scriptorium represent to present day scholars of the English language?

4. Was it good that Minor began to view the asylum as his home?

5. What is controversial about the story of the meeting of Minor and Murray?

6. In what ways could Murray be seen as a voice of reason and motivation for Minor to stay on task to the Oxford English Dictionary?

7. Why could Minor more easily understand Murray's directions in comparison to others?

8. Explain the significance of Minor's submissions evolving from one slip of paper to large paper bags arriving in Murray's office.

9. Why is it important, in relation to Minor's past, that the author states that people admired Minor for his meticulous work?

10. What does the author give as the chief purpose behind Minor's self-mutilation? Was it achieved?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"The English-speaking world is better off for the death of Charles Merrett." How could this statement be considered to be true? Do you think the author agrees? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

What is significant about the fact that the text has two protagonists, Minor and Murray, and that the author himself points out that this goes against the definition of the word in "Modern English Usage," which states that protagonist can only be used in the singular?

Essay Topic 3

The author opens the book with the dictionary entry for the word "murder." Discuss the reasons why he might have done this with reference to the people mentioned in the book, the book's central subject of The Oxford English Dictionary, and the author's own interests.

(see the answer keys)

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