A Leg to Stand On 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. To what poor instrument did Sacks compare his injured leg?

2. What was the date when Sacks climbed the mountain?

3. What question did Sacks want to ask the surgeon before surgery?

4. What would happen if Sacks were not found by nightfall?

5. What analogy does Sacks use to describe his left leg's failure during therapy?

Short Essay Questions

1. What was the life voice which Sacks heard on the mountain? How was this voice stronger than his circumstances?

2. What timeline does Sacks establish for the development of neurology? What is still lacking from this branch of science?

3. The night before his cast was taken off, Sacks repeatedly dreamed a nightmare. What was this nightmare? How did it reveal the conflict in his mind?

4. What obvious differences existed between the injuries in Sacks's left leg and his right leg? What was the difference in their effects?

5. Chapter Two begins with the idea that Sacks's story was over. How might the readership have been different if he had actually ended the story here?

6. How does Sacks describe his first few steps? How might this description be applied to another time in life, one which has never been described?

7. When Sacks's right arm and shoulder were immobilized, what happened? What did this tell him about a person's body image?

8. What did Sacks think when he saw his left leg for the first time in two weeks? How did his own thoughts tie into the doctor's summary of the recovery?

9. During his first night out of the hospital, Sacks wept in the doorway of the convalescent home. Briefly summarize his experiences so far to explain the tears.

10. Sacks notes that "body-image is dynamic and plastic" (Afterword, pg 194). What does this mean?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Sacks says that during his descent from the mountain, his awkward way of moving became natural (Chapter One, pg 10). He stopped thinking about it as the action became automatic. In what ways is this phenomenon exhibited throughout the book?

Essay Topic 2

What vital support did the surgeon take away when he dismissed Sacks's concerns? When was this support returned? How did Sacks change his career so that he could give this particular support to the patients he treated?

Essay Topic 3

What is the main point of A Leg to Stand On? In other words, what does Sacks most want his readers to learn? How does he illustrate or argue for this point throughout the book?

(see the answer keys)

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