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 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

Kreton argues that human beings are particularly adept at war, and that they specialize in it.

Part 1. Do you agree with Kreton? Why or why not? What makes us, as humans, good at war?

Part 2. Kreton also notes major scientific discoveries are found during war. Why is this true? What causes discoveries to be found during war? Does this argue for the use of war as a method of technological advancement? Why or why not? Would these discoveries have been made outside of war? Why?

Part 3. History is full of records of war. Why do humans engage in wars? What are some of the causes? Does this support or refute Kreton's position that humans specialize in war? Why?

(see the answer keys)

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