Torch Song Trilogy 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 the relationship between Ed and Arnold?

2. Why will Ed not introduce Arnold to his parents?

3. Where does Laurel live?

4. What is Laurel's knowledge of the fact that Ed and Arnold were once lovers?

5. What does Arnold think of the gay bar scene?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is Mrs. Beckoff's response to news of the impending adoption of David?

2. Describe Ed's thoughts about the weekend so far.

3. When scene 3 opens, who is on the stage and what is he doing?

4. What do Arnold and Laurel discuss?

5. Why do you think the author uses the word "Stretto" again in naming this scene?

6. What happens when Arnold joins Ed and David on the park bench?

7. What is happening from another part of the stage and how does it tie in with Arthur?

8. Why does Ed come to the theatre and what happens at the beginning of the conversation?

9. What is the purpose of Laurel's phone call to Ed. What do you think are her motives?

10. Describe the opening of this scene.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In "Fugue in a Nursery, Codetta," Ed reads a newspaper to Laurel about a love affair between an 80-year-old woman and a boy of fifteen. Discuss one of the following topics in a well-developed essay using specific examples both from the text and any research you complete:

1. The American culture is often characterized as being preoccupied with youth. Do you think the reality of an actual love affair between a 15 year old and an 80 year old has even happened in a culture such as the United States? What are the legal ramifications of such a romance? Disregarding any sexual aspects of such a relationship, what do you think two people of such disparate ages would have in common? In what areas would there likely be conflicts? Could you imagine being in a relationship with someone several decades older than you are? Explain.

2. A "cultist" movie called Harold and Maud was released in 1971. It was centered around just such a relationship as that mentioned in Torch Song Trilogy between a teen and an elderly woman. Watch the movie and write a literary criticism on it, including a personal "reader (viewer) response."

3. In many cultures today, and most in earlier centuries, marriages were arranged around political and financial goals for those in the higher echelons of a country. Often a child was engaged to an adult and the marriage is consummated when the child is of acceptable age. Discuss the following question using specific examples: Would you prefer to be of the wealthy class and have a life of privilege but have an arranged marriage to someone you detest, or would you prefer to be a peasant who worked in hard physical labor but was able to choose your spouse? Discuss the pros and cons of both situations and then explain why you would choose whichever you choose.

Essay Topic 2

In the scene titled, "Fugue in a Nursery, Counter Subject," Arnold and Alan are resistant to joining Ed and Laurel in their "normal" Sunday routine. Choose one of the following topics and write a well-developed essay using specific examples both from the text and any research you complete:

1. Discuss how the term "Counter Subject" is used in musical compositions (particularly in the musical composition of a fugue) and how it is applicable to the action of this scene. Be sure to use specific examples and details.

2. Using the entire play as a source of material, outline Laurel's actions and manipulations, both implied and explicit, and discuss whether she has been successful and appropriate in her behavior.

3. Discuss the commonalities among all the main characters, (Arnold, Alan, Ed, and Laurel) as to their wants and needs as human beings in relationship. Can their needs/desires be universal to all humans? Explain.

Essay Topic 3

In the second "Fugue in a Nursery, Stretto," Ed seduces Alan in the barn despite being in a supposedly monogamous relationship with Laurel. Discuss the following ideas in a well-developed essay using specific examples both from the text and any research you complete:

1. Why do you think Ed is so attracted to Alan?

2. Do you think Ed is actually gay and cannot resist being with men? Explain.

3. Do you think what Ed does is immoral? If yes, for what reasons? If no, why not?

4. Is it possible that Ed is bisexual? If so, how do you think he can resolve wanting to be with both men and women? Is a monogamous relationship possible for a bisexual individual?

(see the answer keys)

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