Travesties 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 masterwork is Joyce in the process of write when he and Carr are acquainted?

2. About what Swiss food does Carr state Rochefoucauld complained?

3. What art movement is born our of the Meierei Bar in Zurich?

4. Due to a clerical error on his birth certificate, what if James Joyce's legal middle name?

5. What sound effect does Stoppard recommend to accompany time slips in the play?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Joyce explain his decision to produce The Importance of Being Earnest?

2. What apologia does Henry Carr make regarding his memory?

3. What final words of wisdom does Carr offer at the end of the play?

4. How does Carr's opinion of Joyce seems to change as he sums up the writer's character in his monologue?

5. Why does Tzara distrust beauty and reason?

6. What events have transpired in Russia since the abdication of the czar?

7. How is Lenin surprised by the Russian Revolution?

8. How does Henry Carr change at the end of his monologue?

9. What lie does Carr argue is the artist's great achievement?

10. What opinion do the Bolsheviks have regarding bourgeois-capitalist democracy in Russia?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The women of Travesties serve an interesting purpose in the play. They almost serve as counter-balances to the men that court them, elucidating the underpinnings of their beliefs and the truth of their assertions. Write an essay about the women in the play in three parts:

Part 1) Examine the courtship between Gwen and Tzara. How does she challenge him to defend his Dada poetry in a way no one else does? How does he prove the worth of his art in this sequence?

Part 2) Nadya narrates much of the second act of the play. What new information regarding Lenin's attitude toward art does she provide? How does this create a more vibrant portrait of the revolutionary politician?

Part 3) Throughout the play, Henry Carr's assertions seem more than a little suspect. What new information does Old Cecily provide at the end of the play? Does she seem a more reliable narrator than Carr?

Essay Topic 2

Truth and confusion is a central theme of Travesties. The play itself is a story told by an elderly and senile man, and it examines the unlikeliness of ever knowing for certain with the truth of a story is. Write an essay about memory and confusion, focusing on three aspects of the play:

Part 1) This play opens and closes with monologues by Henry Carr, and throughout he interrupts the action to explain it and himself. What apologies and explanations does he make regarding his memory? At what points does he become defiant regarding the truth of his story?

Part 2) Throughout the play, Stoppard has what are called time slips, moments when the action repeats itself and changes slightly. What do these time slips reflect? When do they occur, and how do they change the meaning of much of the action?

Part 3) What, in the end, can the audience believe about Henry Carr's story? What assertions turn out to be completely false? What is Stoppard saying about the human inclination to self-mythologize?

Essay Topic 3

Throughout the play cordial, Wilde-esque conversations give way to bouts of unrestrained antipathy between characters. Write an essay about the breaking of the formal shell in the play, focusing on three such outbursts:

Part 1) What is the breaking point for Henry Carr when discussing art with Tristan Tzara in their first conversation of the play? How is Dada so offensive to him? What does Tzara say about the war that infuriates him?

Part 2) Why does Tzara think that Joyce is patronizing him when they discuss Dada in Act 1? How do they differ in their view of classical archetypes in art and literature?

Part 3) Examine the library scene between Cecily and Carr at the beginning of Act 2. What is Cecily's breaking point in discussing Marxism? What patronizing statement does Carr make that sets her off?

(see the answer keys)

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