The Promise 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 does Professor Gordon look over at the Zechariah Frankel library?

2. What is one image Michael sees in the clouds?

3. Why is Professor Gordon exhausted at the opening to Chapter 4?

4. Where does Reuven encounter Professor Gordon?

5. With whom does Kotzker Rebbe have disagreements?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Michael say about the universe when he is back home after the fair?

2. Who does the narrator meet in Spring of 1950 that changes his view some about his religion?

3. Who does Reuven encounter at the library and what is the person doing?

4. What has Reuven's father completed during the Fall and early Winter?

5. What rumors infuriate Reuven and his father?

6. How does Reuven work out a way to meet Professor Gordon?

7. When does Michael get a nosebleed at the fair, and what do Reuven and Rachel do?

8. What does Reuven reveal in a flashback?

9. What does Michael tell Reuven about Michael's nosebleeds?

10. What does Reuven say about the Hasid?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze the theme of change. Consider the following questions as you write: What characters are most concerned with change? Why? What are some symbols of change? Symbols of rigidity? What characters seem rigid?

2. Trace and analyze the theme of mental/emotional illness. Which characters struggle with some sort of emotional illness? Why? Which characters seem really healthy emotionally/mentally? Why? How is Michael Gordon's emotional problems a metaphor for the changes taking place in the realm of Jewish theology?

3. Trace and analyze the theme of tradition. What is Reuven's view of tradition? Kalman's? Michael Gordon's? Professor Gordon's? Why is tradition important to some characters? Is anyone willing to abandon traditional viewpoints? Who? What are the positive and negative sides to tradition?

Essay Topic 2

In The Promise, the most visible and important characters are male. Discuss the following:

1. Why do you think novels more often have a male hero than a female one?

2. Do you believe Rachael is as capable (or more so) than Reuven or Daniel? Would the novel be as interesting to you if she were the one that was in a difficult position with Rav Kalman? Why or why not.

3. Do you think females (in the real world) are just as likely and capable as males to be heroes? Why or why not?

4. Would you rather read a book with a male or female hero or do you have a preference? Explain your response.

Essay Topic 3

The Promise, like many, and perhaps a majority, of novels ends on a happy (or at least optimistic) note. Discuss the following:

1. Why do you think many (most?) people want what they perceive as a happy or good ending to a novel? Explain your opinion. Do you? Why or why? not?

2. What are three reasons to read fiction? Discuss each one in light of The Promise and whether or not The Promise fulfills all three, two or one of the reasons you mention. Give examples as to why The Promise is or is not successful in fulfilling the reasons you discuss.

3. Do you think reading solely for entertainment is as good a reason to read as any other? Why or why not? Can any work of fiction or non-fiction, no matter how poorly written, enlighten, teach, stimulate thought? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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