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. How long had Sacks been traveling when he came to the swollen stream?

2. After he fell, what story did Sacks recall the villagers telling him?

3. What was Sacks doing when he was finally able to piece together his thoughts?

4. After a temporary cast was put on the leg, what dream did Sacks have?

5. What word does Sacks use most to describe the bull?

Short Essay Questions

1. While Sacks was lying in his small hospital room, what happened to his eyes? How was this transformation similar to his leg's injury?

2. How was Miss Preston, the physiotherapist, more understanding than the surgeon had been? How did her understanding still fall short of the problem?

3. What does the detail from Sacks's journal explain? How does this excerpt capture the split between doctor and patient, which is captured in one person?

4. What is the literary effect of Sacks's description of his injury? Why do you think the injury is not detailed later?

5. Who visited Sacks the evening after his operation? Why does he not mention these people again?

6. 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?

7. Sacks says that simply his ability to stand changed the world and his place in it. How did this happen?

8. How does Sacks describe his arrival at the convalescent home? What particular words contribute to the picture he draws?

9. Patients in the hospital are treated with fear and sometimes horror by the healthy people who visit them. Using Sacks's thoughts, what might be the reason for this?

10. What did Sacks do when he finally wanted to escape the convalescent home? How did the woman he met treat him differently than the hospital nurses had?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What would have made the state of Limbo tolerable? What parts did the ideas of "hole" and "Hell" play in this state? Did scotoma lead to Limbo or explain it?

Essay Topic 2

How did Sacks achieve the certainty which "bypassed the most complex mathematics" (Chapter Five, pg 121)? Was there any element of divinity in this certainty? How did this certainty relate to his idea of the world as a whole?

Essay Topic 3

Following the surgery, Sacks's spirit entered into the "dark night of the soul" (Chapter Three, pg 86). Find another example of this in literature and compare the two instances. Analyze personalities, situations, and reactions in order to understand both.

(see the answer keys)

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