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

2. Why were the executed veteran's accomplices sentenced to life in prison and not executed?

3. When the narrator returns to the squad's quarters after listening to the story of execution, what is Volpatte doing?

4. When Chapter 2 opens, how long has the war been going on?

5. "Trench Tourists" refers to which of the following?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is the condition of most of the soldiers the morning after the bombardment?

2. What does the narrator overhear the Legionnaires talking about? What are they planning, and why?

3. What are Lamuse and the narrator's opinions about aircraft?

4. What is the general psychological state of the men of Cpl. Bertrand's squad?

5. How do the men feel about the things they carry?

6. What does the German in the refuge say and wonder about God?

7. What is the state of the area around the railway station where the squad waits in Chapter 7?

8. How does Poterloo sneak behind enemy lines?

9. Describe the conditions in which the squad digs the trench in Chapter 23.

10. What is Volpatte's opinion of the phrase, "If we do return"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Corporal Bertrand is the aloof leader of the narrator's squad. The men respect his leadership, and he clearly is capable, most of his men having earned medals for their exploits.

Part 1) Describe Cpl. Bertrand as a character. What are his major character traits? What sets him apart, other than his rank, from the other members of the squad?

Part 2) What evidence suggests that Cpl. Bertrand is a capable leader? How does he earn the loyalty of the men who serve under his command?

Part 3) Explain, using examples from the book, what Cpl. Bertrand's leadership style is like in action. How does this contribute to the functioning of the squad?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

The author makes it a point to center the narrative spotlight on a number of inexplicable or irrational actions on the part of the French army and its officers. The army does much that makes little sense, and this tends to reinforce the theme of hopeless and pointless waste.

Part 1) Describe some examples of actions on the part of the French army and its officers that seems to make little sense.

Part 2) Explain the reaction of the men of Bertrand's squad to this irrationality. Cite specific examples of these reactions and explain their significance.

Part 3) Speculate as to the reasoning behind some of these unexplained or mysterious actions. Could there be well-founded explanations for some of these behaviors? In the case of actions with no apparent explanation, speculate about how such an action became sanctioned and approved by the military.

(see the answer keys)

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