Waiting for Lefty 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 color is the hair of Joe and Edna's children?

2. In Scene 2, what does Joe find when he arrives home from work at the end of the day?

3. How does Odets foreshadow some of the main characters in the play?

4. Who are the two Hollywood stars imitated by the buying public?

5. What two unions have failed at past strikes?

Short Essay Questions

1. What are some of Joe's explanations for not making enough money to support his family?

2. At what point does Miller change his mind about the new assignment?

3. What are two main themes contained in Scene 4 and how are they manifested?

4. What are some of the reasons that Fayette selects Miller for the new project?

5. How does Joe feel about his responsibilities as the man of the family?

6. Why does Edna threaten infidelity as a way to convince Joe to support a strike?

7. What is the point of emphasizing the closeness of Philadelphia to the workers?

8. What does Fayette's dialogue in which he uses the words "pollacks and niggers" say about his prejudice?

9. What contributes to Dr. Barnes' deep anger about rich men taking away his power to influence medical care? How does he express it?

10. Why is Benjamin coming to see Dr. Barnes?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Hunger is a marker in the play; food and/or the lack of it comes up in at least three scenes. How do discussions about hunger and food speak to the issue of social class? What characters can you put in a class hierarchy based on dialogue about hunger and/or food? What is that hierarchy and what evidence supports your arrangement? What do you know about persistent hunger in the USA, who it affects, and what your responsibility is for ending it?

Essay Topic 2

There is a saying that charity begins at home. Yet, in this play, charity seems to have succumbed to a hardness and harshness. How do you define charity in its broadest sense? How do you explain the near absence of charity in the lives of the characters, if you see it as absent? What does charity do for the giver and receiver? What prices do individuals and society pay when charity disappears or becomes minimal?

Essay Topic 3

Political correctness did not exist in the 1930s, but there was certain language that did not enter polite society. In using the language of the common man and woman, Odets' play overflows with name-calling and ethnic slurs. What were your initial reactions to this language? How do you imagine individuals to whom the language referred reacted? Were you at any time uncomfortable, embarrassed or shamed by the language? Why or why not? What are your thoughts about keeping the language intact for contemporary productions of the play? Are there situations in which the play that would be best served if there were language substitutions?

(see the answer keys)

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