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. Lamuse is described with what seemingly contradictory label?

2. Chapter 7 begins with the squad waiting where as they prepare for redeployment?

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

4. What is Gauchin-l'Abbé?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How do the civilian's perceptions of the war differ from the soldier's experiences?

4. What do the men believe about 77mm shells, despite evidence to the contrary?

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

6. How does Volpatte regard his wound? How do the other men regard it?

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

8. What is meant by the phrase that each poilu "carries his crowd along"?

9. Briefly summarize Cocon's description of the organization of the forces present near the railway station.

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Despair is a constant threat in the novel. Many characters find unique ways to fight against despair and some are consumed by it. It is the source of strange behavior and adaptive strategies, and the cause of some seemingly suicidal actions.

Part 1) Explain the theme of despair as it occurs in the novel. How does this threat compare to other threats of trench life and warfare?

Part 2) Discuss some of the strategies some of the men develop to stave off despair. How well do these strategies fare. Explain examples of the men falling into complete despair.

Part 3) Using examples from the last chapters of the book, give a last analysis of the theme of despair. How much does it affect the men overall? How successful can they be, in the end, in fighting it off?

Essay Topic 2

Many types of forces and divisions within the French army are discussed in the book. The poilus are the mainstay of the French forces, but there are many others, including the Territorials, the Zouaves, and the Foreign Legion.

Part 1) Describe in detail at least three forces in the French army besides the poilus. Using information from the book, discuss their composition, their armaments, and their strengths and weaknesses.

Part 2) Using examples from the book, explain how each of these groups performs a vital function in the French army that helps to support the poilus.

Part 3) Explain how the poilus relate to each of these others forces. How often do they work in close connection? What is the poilus' opinion of each group?

Essay Topic 3

The author demonstrates that in the war, life is cheap. Soldiers on both sides die for mundane reasons with no clear gain. The poilus of Bertrand's squad and others show that the deaths of strangers mean little to them, and the death of friends is common and unremarkable, though sad.

Part 1) Cite and explain examples from the book to show how the author establishes the poilus' attitude towards death..

Part 2) Discuss the theme of the cheapness of life. What are some of the smallest and most meaningless reasons that soldiers die in the novel? How do the soldiers react to these events?

Part 3) Do the men of Cpl. Bertrand's squad seem aware of the cheapness of their own lives? How do they deal with the nearly constant threat of death, and the knowledge that death may mean nothing?

(see the answer keys)

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