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. Where are all of the characters in the opening of this scene?

2. What is one possible theme in this scene?

3. How does Arnold feel about the possible visit?

4. What is the relationship between Arnold and the person he is taking with him to Ed and Laurel's?

5. What does Laurel want?

Short Essay Questions

1. About what is Ed reading and what is opinion of the subject?

2. Describe how Laurel is feeling. Do you think she has the right to feel this way?

3. Why is Laurel mentioned in Ed's phone conversation with Arnold?

4. Who is Mrs. Beckoff and describe her initial impressions during her visit to Arnold.

5. What do Arnold and Alan decide about their relationship?

6. Why do you think Ed Reiss insists that he dates women as well as men?

7. Describe Ed and David's interaction on the park bench.

8. With whom is Ed speaking and what is the content of the conversation?

9. Define the term "fugue," and how it is applicable in this scene.

10. Why does Ed think Laurel is attracted to gay men?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 the similarities and differences of the themes among the three plays.

2. Write a possible scene that takes place a year later.

3. Choose one character and follow his/her development and growth (or lack of growth).

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 "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.

(see the answer keys)

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