Under Fire 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. Why are the gentlemen of the depot jealous of Bourin the Parisian?

2. What is the squad's duty at night?

3. When Cpl. Marchal and the narrator meet, they discuss which of the following happening to their mutual friends?

4. According to Cocon, each regiment includes how many non-combatants?

5. The soldier being carried by the Territorial stretcher-bearers was killed doing what?

Short Essay Questions

1. Where is Fouillade from, and what is his hometown like?

2. How do the men feel about their "treasures"?

3. How does Poterloo sneak behind enemy lines?

4. What do the soldiers think about people touting the fine and admirable side of war?

5. What religious references does the narrator make while escorting Joseph to safety?

6. During his six-day leave, how much time is Eudore able to share with his wife?

7. How has the squad been reduced in numbers when Chapter 20 opens?

8. Who was executed just before the events of Chapter 10, and why?

9. What problem do Blaire and the other face in Chapter 18, "A box of matches", and how do they solve it?

10. How do the men first meet Eudoxie, and what is Lamuse doing when they do?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

The machine gun is a feared weapon on the battlefield, and rightly so. Its effectiveness is seen in detail in the chapter "Under Fire," and the men discuss it on many occasions. It is the primary reason for the existence of trench warfare, and the cause of most of the misery on which the book centers. The machine gunners themselves represent an almost élite class in the army, being specially favored targets for retribution and looting, and receiving a variety of favors from their own side.

Part 1) Use information from the book to explain what a machine gun is and its impact on warfare in the time of the novel.

Part 2) Explain the men's perceptions and fears about machine guns. Cite specific examples to justify or disprove these perceptions.

Part 3) Discuss some of the ways that machine gunners are treated differently from other soldiers, both by their own forces and by the enemy. Why do these men receive this treatment?

Essay Topic 2

The scale of the war is important to many themes in the novel, and the men of the squad have opportunities to glimpse a portion of its full size. The strategic development of deep fronts that are hundreds of miles long necessitates huge armies, and the drive for advanced and numerically superior firepower requires volumes of weapons and material. The scale of the war makes it difficult for the men to fully understand, and it makes them uninformed pawns in a game far too large to be seen from ground-level.

Part 1) Cite examples from the book to explain how the author establishes the size and scale of the war.

Part 2) Discuss the impact of the scale of the war on the men of Bertrand's squad.

Part 3) Based on information in the book, and in particular the analysis of logical men like Cocon and Bertrand, speculate about the factors that contribute to the necessity of the large force sizes seen in the novel.

Essay Topic 3

The brutality and deprivation of life in the trenches is a near-constant throughout the squad's travels and experiences. Although many men of the squad grumble and complain about their conditions, others develop a philosophical outlook and accept their state for as long as they must. This struggle to deal with the seemingly unbearable conditions in the trenches is a constant psychological challenge for the men of the squad, alleviated occasionally by leave and quartering in villages.

Part 1) Describe some of the hardships faced by the men when living in the trenches. How healthy and sanitary are the conditions? How much protection do the men have from weather or from sudden enemy attack? How comfortably are they able to eat, live, and sleep?

Part 2) Explain some of the ways that the men deal with their situation in the trenches. What luxuries and activities are considered welcome diversions? Explain examples discussed in the book of the men acting to make their situation physically more pleasant. Discuss psychological adaptations that the men make to better deal with their surroundings.

Part 3) How do the men react to the occasional respite from trench life? What luxuries of normal life do they relish? How do the men make the most of their leaves and opportunities to escape from the trenches?

(see the answer keys)

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