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. About what is Arnold still hurt?

2. What does Arthur suggest may be in the audience that night?

3. What has taken Ed by surprise?

4. How is the person trying to awaken Arnold?

5. How does Arnold try to justify the anonymous encounter?

Short Essay Questions

1. How are Arnold and Alan's conversation similar to that of Ed and Laurel?

2. How do each of the men (Ed and Arnold) feel about the possibility of a renewed relationship?

3. How does the conversation end?

4. What is Arthur going to do onstage?

5. What could be a possible reason for the torch song between each scene?

6. What might be a couple reasons why Laurel's plan is not successful?

7. What is the major topic of conversation in this scene?

8. Describe the fight between Arnold and his mother after the news of David's adoption was discusssed.

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

10. What hurts Arnold's feelings and why do you think Ed does the action that hurts Arnold?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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, 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 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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