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. Of what type of metal is Kreton's ship made?

2. What problem do Reba and Roger have with watching Roger's television appearance?

3. What causes Reba to be suspicious of Ellen and Conrad's activities?

4. What trait does Kreton say is endearing in Earthlings?

5. Who is in the living room at the opening of the play?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why is Reba concerned about the marriage of Ellen and Conrad.

2. What does Kreton's statement about the food Ellen brings indicate about his position on eating meat?

3. Is Kreton well-organized? Why?

4. Why is Roger annoyed with Conrad and Ellen?

5. What does Powers tell Roger about the reality of the UFO, and why does he threaten to indict Roger under the Revised Espionage Act?

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

7. What is Kreton's response to the question of whether his people are there to establish trade? Communications?

8. Kreton tells Conrad that humans are "blood thirsty savages." Do you believe this is true?

9. Explain why Kreton's race no longer multiplies.

10. Why does Ellen claim in Act II she cannot marry Roger?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Kreton explains that his race is superior to humans, in that they no longer have passion. Discuss your thoughts on his statement. Does Kreton seem superior to you? Why or why not? What benefits do emotions have for humans? Are there any downfalls? What would life be like without passion? Is this an improvement? Why or why not? Be sure to include information from the play in your answers.

Essay Topic 3

What do you think Vidal was trying to say about the political situation of the world in the 1950s? Why? What are possible reasons for this? What was he trying to say about the U.S. government? About the Russian government? Be sure to be very specific in your answer, and include information from the book to back your argument.

(see the answer keys)

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