Visit to a Small Planet Test | Lesson Plans Mid-Book Test - Hard

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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

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

2. Why does Kreton claim he needs to lay down?

3. What does Ellen say she would like to do that is important?

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

5. Which uniform does Kreton say he prefers?

Short Essay Questions

1. Explain why Kreton knows being found by Delton 4 would be difficult.

2. Explain Powers' complaint at the beginning of the play in terms of what he has been given as responsibility, and who he blames for the change.

3. Delton 4 promises to turn time backward, so that none of the events in the play occurred. What good things will thus be erased, as well?

4. Was Kreton an evil character? Why or why not?

5. Do you think Powers should be directing any military action, knowing he has never been in battle? Why or why not?

6. Why does the fight excite Kreton?

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

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

9. Why is Ellen unable to lift the case with her mind the first time she tries?

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Kreton manipulates individuals throughout the novel in an effort to force them to create the world he originally envisioned when he envisioned Earth. Choose of the following manipulative situations to discuss.

1. Describe the situation where Kreton uses the thoughts of the aide to push Conrad into fighting. What was the aide thinking? Why did this bother Conrad? Is the fact that Conrad tried to hit the aide proof that Kreton is correct that humans are naturally violent? Or was Conrad abnormally motivated to violence by Kreton's manipulation? Why? Be sure to support your ideas with the book.

2. Describe the situation where Kreton uses the fight between Conrad and the aide to convince Ellen to marry Conrad. What was the fight about? Why did this change Ellen's opinion of marrying Conrad? Is the fact that Ellen married Conrad only after his show of violence proof that humans are violent creatures? Or was Ellen abnormally motivated to marry by Kreton's manipulation? Why? Be sure to support your ideas with the book.

Essay Topic 2

In the play, Vidal references the standing political condition between Russia and the United States, often referred to as the Cold War. Choose one of the following to discuss.

1. Why do you think Vidal bases the novel on the Cold War fears of the United States military? What is he trying to say about the suspicious nature of both sides? What threats exist in such a suspicious environment, as is shown by the creation of hostilities by Kreton? What could such conditions result in?

2. Examine one specific comment in the play that refers to the feelings against Russians by the United States. Discuss the comment in terms of historical significance. What does such a comment tell you about the political situation in the time this play was written? What does the inclusion of such comments indicate in terms of Vidal's position on the Cold War? 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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