The Verge 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 the first character do after coming onstage?

2. Who is the second house guest to arrive at the greenhouse?

3. Why is the first house guest uncomfortable?

4. What does Claire ask Tom to do?

5. What does the second house guest do when he sees that no one can help him enter the greenhouse?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is Claire frustrated by her inability to explain the importance of her plants?

2. At the end of the play, Claire has lapsed into madness. Why does the playwright choose to end with Claire singing the verses to a religious hymn?

3. What is Dr. Emmons' diagnosis and recommendation regarding Claire?

4. Why does Claire ask Anthony to view the plant first?

5. What is the profession of Claire's lover, Tom? How is his profession indicative of his character?

6. What is the symbolic meaning of "The Breath of Life" in this play?

7. What does Tom want to tell Claire early in Act 3?

8. Which character responds to the code-like buzzer, and what does that character do?

9. What do Claire and Tom discuss regarding "The Breath of Life"?

10. What is the connection between Claire and Elizabeth?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The playwright plays with names in many ways, from naming Claire's love interests as "Tom, Dick, and Harry," to naming the two significant vines in the greenhouse, and even to Tom's last name, "Edgeworthy." Discuss how these name choices serve to reinforce the author's characterizations and symbolism.

Essay Topic 2

Given Claire's disdain for traditional womanly roles such as being a good wife, a loving mother, or a proper hostess, what values might she admire in a woman and aspire to for herself? How do these values uphold the general tone of the play in which Claire's unrest represents the struggles of women in the early days of the Women's Movement?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the symbolism of heat in this play as it relates to love, comfort, and survival. Why is it significant that Claire diverts the heat from her family home to the greenhouse? Why is it significant that a snowstorm rages outdoors, visible through the greenhouse windows?

(see the answer keys)

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