A Thousand Clowns Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Herb Gardner
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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 tall is Nick's plastic hula dancer?

2. What does Sandra look for while Murray is calling Arnold to discuss interviews?

3. Where does Nick exit at the end of Act 1, Part 3?

4. Who says, "women seldom sense when they have become boring"?

5. Murray ask Nick if he's considered being the first twelve-year-old where?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the last scene before the curtains close on the final act.

2. After Murray starts talking about how he was apologizing to random people on the street, what is Sandra's reaction?

3. Why does Arnold come to Murray's apartment in Act 3, Part 1?

4. What happens during Murray's lunch with Jimmy Sloan?

5. While Albert and Sandra are talking to Murray and Nick, there is a noise at the front door. Who is it and what does this person do and look like?

6. Murray tells Albert that he quit <i>The Chuckles the Chipmunk Show</i>. What reasons does Murray give Albert for quitting the show?

7. Describe some of the funny parts of Leo's routine that Nick doesn't think is funny.

8. What does Arnold tell Murray is the one thing that really bothers Murray and that is his problem?

9. Name some of the changes that Sandra has made to Murray's apartment at the opening of Act 2, Part 3.

10. What happened to the stuff that Elaine brought by?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

A Thousand Clowns has a reoccurring theme of humor. Murray uses humor and jokes quite often to help him solve his problems or reason with other people. Why do you think Murray uses humor to solve his problems? Does it work for him? Why or why not? Are there other characters in the book that use this same method of persuading people or solving problems with humor? If yes, who and what things do they do that are similar to Murray?

Essay Topic 2

Herb Gardner does a fine job of developing the character of Murray Burns. Describe in detail the characterization of Murray Burns from the start of the play to the end of the play. Make sure to include details about Murray's physical characteristics, his actions, his reactions, and even perhaps what his thoughts may be. Include specific examples from the play.

Essay Topic 3

A Thousand Clowns was nominated for a Tony award for Best Play in 1963. Describe what elements in the story make it a good candidate for a successful play. Why? Also discuss elements that might not be as good or desirable and why you feel this way. Would you want to see a play like this on Broadway? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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