Visit to a Small Planet 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 does Powers fear would be the result of leaked information about the alien?

2. What power does Kreton have?

3. What does Ellen tell Conrad to leave in the car when he arrives for dinner?

4. What does Kreton note he has decided he will do to the world?

5. What does Powers send his Captain to go do before he speaks to Kreton?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Kreton do at the end of the Act that show his intentions?

2. What plans do Ellen and Conrad have, and what are they planning to tell the others at dinner?

3. Delton 4 says Kreton sees the world as his plaything. Do you think this is accurate?

4. Why does Kreton have a difficult time explaining how long it took him to reach Earth?

5. Describe the scene when Kreton reveals his power. What can he do? How does he prove it?

6. Is Powers' treatment of the aide justified? Why or why not?

7. Describe what Conrad says occurred during the night with Roger.

8. Is the use of Kreton as a governmental weapon right?

9. Based on Kreton's comments to Powers about the impending war, does Kreton really plan to win for the United States quickly?

10. Kreton notes the best scientific discoveries, including the atom bomb, radar, and lunch meat, were all discovered during war. Is this true?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the play, martial law is declares as part of security measures. Discuss the following in terms of martial law in the play:

Part 1. Who declares Martial law in the play? Why? What is the purpose of martial law in the play?

Part 2. What are the consequences of such a declaration on the inhabitants of the Spelding household? On Conrad? On Kreton? On viewers of Roger's broadcast?

Part 3. Do you think martial law is fair to innocent individuals such as the Speldings? If so, what are your justifications? If not, what would your alternate solution be to keep from having international panic?

Essay Topic 2

Kreton and Ellen represent dueling forces in "Visit to a Small Planet" and have a major impact on the lives of the other characters in the play.

Part 1. Compare and contrast the characters of Kreton and Ellen by the end of the play. How are these characters the same? How are they different? What changes do the go through as the play moves forward?

Part 2. What would the result have been if Ellen's character had not evolved through the play? Be sure to use information from the novel to discuss your answer.

Part 3. What are the motivations for the actions of each of the characters? Are these motivations similar or different? Why?

Essay Topic 3

One of the themes that runs through the play is the infatuation of the characters with sex. Ellen, Conrad, Reba, and the aide all think at various times in the novel of sex and sexual relations. Vidal seems to use the play to explore the attitudes of Americans in the time period toward sex.

Choose one of the following options and address/discuss the questions:

1. Give several examples of what the characters in the play think of sex. Is it portrayed as a method of procreation, or an enjoyable pastime? What are the symbolic links presented? Why are these important?

2. Ellen notes that sex is a taboo subject, although is it always on the mind. Kreton notes the oddity of sex as taboo while violence is widespread. What do you think of that argument? Is Kreton right? Why do we treat these subjects as we do? What makes sex so taboo?

3. The concept of sex has drastically changed since the writing of the play. Compare and contrast the concept of sex as it was in the 1950s to current notions. What are similarities? What are differences? What caused the shift in perspective?

(see the answer keys)

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