Reading Drama Practice Exercises: GED Language Arts, Reading (page 3)
The study guide for these practice questions can be found at:
Read the following passages and answer the related questions.
The following extract is from The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. The play takes place during the early years of World War II, and the characters are Jews who are hiding from the Nazis. The audience is aware that Anne and her family will die in concentration camps.
ANNE: I'm a terrible coward. I'm so disappointed in myself. I think I've conquered my fear… I think I'm really grown up… and then something happens… and I run to you like a baby… I love you, Father. I don't love anyone but you.
MR. FRANK: [reproachfully] Anneke!
ANNE: It's true. I've been thinking about it for a long time. You're the only one I love.
MR. FRANK: It's fine to hear you tell me that you love me. But I'd be happier if you said you loved your mother as well… She needs your help so much… your love…
ANNE: We have nothing in common. She doesn't understand me. Whenever I try to explain my views on life to her she asks me if I'm constipated.
MR. FRANK: You hurt her very much just now. She's crying. She's in there crying.
ANNE: I can't help it. I only told the truth. I didn't want her here… [Then, with sudden change] Oh, Pim, I was horrible, wasn't I? And the worst of it is, I can stand off and look at myself doing it and know it's cruel and yet I can't stop doing it. What's the matter with me? Tell me. Don't say it's just a phase. Help me!
MR. FRANK: There is so little that we parents can do to help our children. We can only try to set a good example… point the way. The rest you must do yourself. You must build your own character.
ANNE: I'm trying. Really I am. Every night I think back over all of the things I did that day that were wrong… like putting the wet mop in Mr. Dussel's bed… and this thing now with Mother. I say to myself, that was wrong. I make up my mind, I'm never going to do that again. Never! Of course I may do something worse… but at least I'll never do that again!… I have a nice side, Father… a sweeter, nicer side. But I'm scared to show it. I'm afraid that people are going to laugh at me if I'm serious. So the mean Anne comes to the outside and the good Anne stays on the inside, and I keep on trying to switch them around and have the good Anne outside and the bad Anne inside and be what I'd like to be… and might be… if only… only…
[She is asleep. MR. FRANK watches her for a moment and then turns off the light, and starts out. The lights dim out. The curtain falls on the scene. ANNE'S VOICE is heard dimly at first, and then with growing strength.]
ANNE'S VOICE:… The air raids are getting worse. They come over day and night. The noise is terrifying. Pim says it should be music to our ears. The more planes, the sooner will come the end of the war. Mrs. Van Daan pretends to be a fatalist. What will be, will be. But when the planes come over, who is the most frightened? No one else but Petronella!… Monday, the ninth of November, nineteen-forty-two. Wonderful news! The Allies have landed in Africa. Pim says that we can look for an early finish to the war. Just for fun he asked each of us what was the first thing we wanted to do when we got out of here. Mrs. Van Daan longs to be home with her own things, her needle-point chairs, the Beckstein piano that her father gave her… the best that money could buy. Peter would like to go to a movie. Mr. Dussel wants to get back to his dentist drill. He's afraid that he's losing his touch. For myself, there are so many things… to ride a bike again… to laugh till my belly aches… to have new clothes from the skin out… to have a hot tub and fill it to overflowing and wallow in it for hours… to be back in school with my friends…
[As the last lines are being said, the curtain rises on the scene. The lights dim as ANNE'S VOICE fades away.]
- What is the probable setting of this play?
- North Africa, 1988
- Europe, 1942
- a New York City apartment
- the mountains of Tennessee
- Mars, 2112
- Anne's attitude in this passage might be described as
- Anne's desires for what she'll do when she gets free reveal her to be
- frightened about the future.
- angry toward the world.
- a bit unusual.
- a normal teenaged girl.
- highly intellectual.
- The passages marked ANNE'S VOICE are examples of
- dramatic tension.
- One character says that we can look for an early finish to the war. This might be an example of
- dramatic irony.
- stage direction.
The following passage is from The Way of the World by William Congreve.
[Setting: St. James's Park]
[Enter MRS. FAINALL and MRS. MARWOOD.]
MRS. FAINALL: Ay, ay, dear Marwood, if we will be happy, we must find the means in ourselves, and among ourselves. Men are ever in extremes; either doting or averse. While they are lovers, if they have fire and sense, their jealousies are insupportable: and when they cease to love (we ought to think at least) they loathe, they look upon us with horror and distaste, they meet us like the ghosts of what we were, and as from such, fly from us.
MRS. MARWOOD: True, 'tis an unhappy circumstance of life that love should ever die before us, and that the man so often should outlive the lover. But say what you will, 'tis better to be left than never to have been loved. To pass our youth in dull indifference, to refuse the sweets of life because they once must leave us, is as preposterous as to wish to have been born old, because we one day must be old. For my part, my youth may wear and waste, but it shall never rust in my possession. […]
MRS. MARWOOD: You hate mankind?
MRS. FAINALL: Heartily, inveterately.
MRS. MAR: Your husband?
MRS. FAIN: Most transcendently; ay, though I say it, meritoriously.
MRS. MAR: Give me your hand upon it.
MRS. FAIN: There.
MRS. MAR: I join with you; what I have said has been to try you.
MRS. FAIN: Is it possible? Dost thou hate those vipers, men?
MRS. MAR: I have done hating 'em, and am now come to despise 'em; the next thing I have to do is eternally to forget 'em.
MRS. FAIN: There spoke the spirit of an Amazon, a Penthesilea.
MRS. MAR: And yet I am thinking sometimes to carry my aversion further.
MRS. FAIN: How?
MRS. MAR: Faith, by marrying; if I could but find one that loved me very well, and would be thoroughly sensible of ill usage, I think I should do myself the violence of undergoing the ceremony.
- What does Mrs. Fainall mean when she says, Men are ever in extremes; either doting or averse?
- Men either love a woman or hate her.
- Old men tend to be extremists.
- Poets can't be depended on.
- Women should accept men as they are.
- Men are often unhappy about their lot in life.
- How would Mrs. Marwood probably respond if she were rejected by a lover?
- "He was a jerk anyway."
- "I'll get even, whatever the cost!"
- "I'm finished with romance."
- "There are plenty of fish in the sea."
- "It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."
- What is the most likely meaning of inveterately in Mrs. Fainall's second speech?
- without a backbone
- Mrs. Marwood intends to punish men in what way?
- by avoiding them
- by getting married to one
- with violence
- It is not stated.
- Where does this scene take place?
- New York City
- St. James's Park
- Windsor Castle
- It is not stated.
The following excerpt is from The Dinner Party by Neil Simon.
A private dining room in a first rate restaurant in Paris. The present. At stage right is a dining table, set for six.
Against the wall at stage left is a long serving table with large silver tureens of food with bottles of champagne, a few already open.
In the center of the room is a small sofa for two and a chair on each side of the sofa. Everything in the room, from furniture to the wall decorations are French and softly attractive.
Claude Pichon, early forties, in black tie, stands alone in the room, looks at his watch and ips champagne. He looks a little lost. He looks at the dining table, then crosses to the buffet table, lifts tureen covers, sniffs food, then over to the hors d'oeuvres and samples a few. Turns and looks lost again.
There is a double door almost at rear center stage. Another door, smaller, on the side wall. The large door opens and another man enters, about the same age, in black tie as well. This is Albert Donay.
ALBERT: Hello. Am I in the right place? The Gerard party?
CLAUDE: Yes. Well, I think so. I'm the first one here.
[Albert comes in, closes the door.]
ALBERT: I'm Albert Donay.
CLAUDE: Claude Pichon.
[They shake hands. Albert winces in pain, pulls his hand away and tries to shake off pain.]
ALBERT: AHHH… Ooooh.
CLAUDE: I'm sorry. Did I do that?
ALBERT: No, I did. Hurt my finger putting my tie on.
CLAUDE: Yes, bow ties are a bother. Did you make it yourself?
ALBERT: No, it's my father's. He snapped it while my finger was up. [Holds his finger to his throat] This is very nice, isn't it?
CLAUDE: Well, it is La Cassette… They say that Josephine lived here once…. Napoleon used to visit her secretly through that door. [He points to the small door.]
ALBERT: Really? How convenient to have a restaurant in your own home.
CLAUDE: I er, don't think it was a restaurant then.
- What is the setting of this story?
- an old-fashioned living room
- a present-day Paris restaurant
- the era of Napoleon
- a private residence
- a luxury yacht
- If you were in the audience, where would you see a dining table set for six people?
- at the center of the stage
- to the left of the stage
- to the right of the stage
- to the rear of the stage
- You would not see it.
- The opening paragraphs of this selection (the text in italics) is an example of
- dramatic tension.
- stage directions.
- At Rise in the fourth paragraph of the opening italic text means
- when the curtain goes up.
- when the audience stands.
- at sunrise.
- at a high point on the stage.
- when the music begins.
- What is the tone of this drama?
- This play is most likely a
Read the following excerpt from Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.
FAUSTUS: Now tell me what saith Lucifer, thy lord?
MEPHISTOPHELES: That I shall wait on Faustus whilst he lives, So he will buy my service with his soul.
FAUSTUS: Already Faustus hath hazarded that for thee.
MEPHISTOPHELES: But now thou must bequeath it solemnly,
And write a deed of gift with thine own blood;
For that security craves Lucifer.
If thou deny it, I must back to hell.
FAUSTUS: Stay, Mephistopheles, and tell me, what good will my soul do thy lord?
MEPHISTOPHELES: Enlarge his kingdom.
FAUSTUS: Is that the reason why he tempts us thus?
MEPHISTOPHELES: Solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris. [Misery loves company.]
FAUSTUS: Why, have you any pain that torture others?
MEPHISTOPHELES: As great as have the human souls of men.
But, tell me, Faustus, shall I have thy soul? And I will be thy slave, and wait on thee, And give thee more than thou hast wit to ask.
FAUSTUS: Ay, Mephistopheles, I'll give it thee.
MEPHISTOPHELES: Then, Faustus, stab thine arm courageously,
And bind thy soul, that at some certain day Great Lucifer may claim it as his own; And then be thou as great as Lucifer.
FAUSTUS: [Stabbing his arm] Lo, Mephistopheles, for love of thee, Faustus hath cut his arm, and with his proper blood
Assures his soul to be great Lucifer's, Chief lord and regent of perpetual night! View here this blood that trickles from mine arm,
And let it be propitious for my wish.
MEPHISTOPHELES: But, Faustus, Write it in manner of a deed of gift.
FAUSTUS: [Writing] Ay, so I do. But, Mephistopheles,
My blood congeals, and I can write no more.
MEPHISTOPHELES: I'll fetch thee fire to dissolve it straight.
FAUSTUS: What might the staying of my blood portend?
Is it unwilling I should write this bill? Why streams it not, that I may write afresh?
FAUSTUS GIVES TO THEE HIS SOUL: O, there it stayed!
Why shouldst thou not? is not thy soul thine own?
Then write again, FAUSTUS GIVES TO THEE HIS SOUL.
[Re-enter MEPHISTOPHELES with the chafer of fire.]
MEPHISTOPHELES: See, Faustus, here is fire; set it on.
AUSTUS: So, now the blood begins to clear again;
Now will I make an end immediately. [Writes.]
MEPHISTOPHELES: [Aside] What will not I do to obtain his soul?
FAUSTUS: Consummatum est; this bill is ended,
And Faustus hath bequeathed his soul to Lucifer.
- The audience knows that Mephistopheles (a devil) will say anything to get the soul of Faustus—but Faustus is not aware of that. This is an example of
- dramatic irony.
- heroic couplet.
- punch line.
- Why does Mephistopheles answer Faustus' question by saying that misery loves company?
- It rhymes.
- He is quoting from the Bible.
- Faustus doesn't speak Latin, so he won't know what it means.
- He is joking with Faustus.
- He is implying that Faustus will one day regret selling his soul.
- The word propitious in Faustus's seventh speech probably means
- a bad omen.
- good luck.
- a stage prop.
- The lines beginning with What might the staying of my blood portend… are an example of
- a dialogue.
- a monologue.
- an interjection.
- an aside.
- a soliloquy.
- When Mephistopheles says, What will not I do to obtain his soul, this is an example of
- a dialogue.
- a monologue.
- an interjection.
- an aside.
- a soliloquy.
- If this play ended with Faustus being taken to hell by Mephistopheles, it would be
- a tragedy.
- a comedy.
- a tragicomedy.
- a farce.
- none of the above
- The tone of this passage is
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