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 Ellen notice Roger has in the television appearance?

2. What does Conrad claim to be in addition to a farmer?

3. What power does Kreton have?

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

5. What does Conrad use as a name for hotel reservations at the Jefferson Davis?

Short Essay Questions

1. Kreton states he envies humans for being imperfect. Why do you think he says that?

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

3. Describe Kreton's appearance.

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

5. What does Kreton do to try and entice Conrad to join the fight?

6. How does raising the rifles in the world help to start a war?

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

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

9. Describe the interview with Powers by Roger.

10. What reasons does Kreton give for not explaining where his planet is, and what does he admit his species does not do, as part of the conversation?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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