Torch Song Trilogy Test | Lesson Plans Mid-Book Test - Hard

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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

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

In "The International Stud: Scene 3," Arnold finally contacts Ed, who admits he is dating a woman. It seems likely from the conversation between Arnold and Ed that Ed is very aware of family and societal pressures to be "normal." 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. In what ways does the culture in which you live define normalcy as heterosexuality? Use examples from movies, t.v., school, church, and other cultural institutions. Discuss the ramifications of bucking cultural pressure and living life as a homosexual.

2. How does one's family of origin help shape one's perceptions of what is normal? What sort of overt, covert, and unconscious pressure is placed on one to conform to one's family's definition of normal? What are some behaviors and beliefs that are considered normal? Give examples both from the play, Torch Song Triology and your own life.

3. Discuss three famous people who have chosen to live apart from what is considered normal: not necessarily as homosexuals, but in any way that society might label as different or not normal. Do you admire these people's choices? Do they violate any moral laws according to how you have been raised. Could you see your self making a similar choice? Include, if you are comfortable in doing so, ways that you have chosen to be or do what is considered not normal.

Essay Topic 2

In "Fugue in a Nursery, Coda," several things are revealed: Laurel leaves Ed; Ed justifies sex with Alan, and Alan and Arnold commit to a permanent relationship. 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. Trace the development and the ups and downs of Arnold and Ed's relationship. Evaluate the various phases of their relationship and give your opinions and evaluation of the relationship.

2. The men seem to think of the sexual liaison between Alan and Arnold as basic human frailties, while Laurel seems to view it as a serious hindrance to Ed and her relationship. Discuss the stereotyped differences between men and women's attitudes toward sex, monogamy and intimacy; then comment about whether you think these stereotypes are more or less accurate in reality.

3. Alan and Arnold seem to work out their relationship (at least for now) despite Alan's infidelity; whereas, Ed and Laurel are having a rougher time getting past Ed's infidelity. In evaluting both couples' relationships as revealed throughout the entire trilogy, discuss what are the signs and foreshadowing that the two couples would resolve the problem in the way that they did. Which couple do you think was the wiser? Healthier? Had a stronger desire to be together?

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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