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

2. What do the narrator and Poterloo do with the three Germans they come across while on their way to Sauchez?

3. Cpl. Marchal has what relationship to the narrator?

4. Why does the old man who speaks to the soldiers leave angry?

5. Where is the squad dispatched at the end of Chapter 2?

Short Essay Questions

1. How adequate are the rations and wages issued to the men?

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

3. What do the soldiers believe about fraternity, liberty, and equality?

4. How do Volpatte and Fouillade get lost?

5. What are some of the reasons that the men at the depot use to explain why they are not fighting?

6. How do Blaire and the others blunder into German lines while searching for matches?

7. What happened to Joseph's brother, and how is his body found?

8. How much do the men seem to know about different kinds of weapons and artillery?

9. How does the author feel about the speech of the characters in the book he is writing?

10. What is the nature and duty of Cpl. Bertrand's squad?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Near the end of the novel, religious themes are discussed frequently and in a serious fashion. The narrator himself reveals little about his faith or lack thereof, but the things he experiences clearly cause him to begin thinking about such matters in more detail. The men at the refuge discuss this subject in great detail. Appropriately, they ask more questions than they answer.

Part 1) How are religious themes developed throughout the novel. Explain how these themes are first introduced, where they are discussed most thoroughly and how, if at all, they are resolved.

Part 2) Explain the narrator's personal progression in this regard, citing examples to show his changing state of mind and increasing interest in the subject. Citing information from the book, explain why these changes take place.

Part 2) Explain some of the opinions of the poilus and other soldiers about religion and God. Explain how these opinions are consonant with their experiences and other opinions expressed at other points in the novel.

Essay Topic 2

The shirkers are introduced in Volpatte's story about his time behind the lines recovering from his head injuries. His comrades are disgusted to hear his stories of the cowardice, deceit, and arrogance of these men who refuse to join in the war effort.

Part 1) Explain what "shirkers" are. What background do these men typically come from? What are some of the common excuses given for avoiding the war?

Part 2) Citing specific examples from the book, speculate about whether the shirkers are aware of their moral failings.

Part 3) What do the poilus think of the shirkers? How does Volpatte's story affect the squad on an immediate and a long-term basis?

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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