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. Who came up with the phrase "quickening art" which described Sacks's use of music to move down the mountain?

2. Why did Sacks write to A. R. Luria?

3. According to Sacks, why does he not end his story after his rescue?

4. What book of the Bible does Sacks quote at the beginning of Chapter Three?

5. In order to escape being caught on the mountain all night, what was the latest possible time Sacks could reach help?

Short Essay Questions

1. Sacks discovered, to his horror, that his mental and moral boundaries had shrunk to the limits of the hospital. What does this mean? How did this differ from his mindset before the accident?

2. What meals does Sacks describe most from his time in the hospital? What do these meals say about his frame of mind at each time?

3. While in the hospital, Sacks felt morally and physically prostrate before the doctor. How do you think this happened?

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

5. What is the most basic purpose of classical neurology? As can be inferred from the purpose of Sacks's book, how does classical neurology fall short?

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. What paradoxical command did Sacks find while he was in Limbo? How do you think this contrasted with his previous way of living?

8. During the late afternoon, what silence did Sacks experience? Why was this terrifying?

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

10. Leontev and Zaporozhet's book dealt with two hundred soldiers who suffered hand injuries. What was Sacks's reaction to the book? How did it help his healing process?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"I was rather pleased to be compared with a dog--I much preferred it to being called 'unique.' And it brought home something about the elemental nature of the animal soul and animal motion, and about spontaneity, musicality, animation" (Chapter Six, pg 194). Explain this quote: when was Sacks compared with a dog? When was he referred to as unique? What element of movement and music was contained in this situation?

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

Note Dr. Swan's attitude toward Sacks's injury compared to Sacks's attitude. How do they differ? In Sacks's attitude toward his own injury, what are the elements of a physician? What are the elements of a patient? What does he think of Dr. Swan's professional opinion?

(see the answer keys)

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