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. What was the primary reason that Sacks decided not to yell a second time?

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

3. When did Sacks write the preface to the book?

4. What did Sacks think when he woke from the surgery?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. During his descent off the mountain, what is Sacks's connection to humanity? How does this contrast to nature's impersonality?

2. At the beginning of Chapter One, Sacks quotes Thomas Mann to say that the silent world receives and tolerates man but always remains menacing (pg 1). How does this relate to Sacks's experience in the world?

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

4. How does Sacks think of his injury and recovery? Is this what you might have expected?

5. 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?

6. 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?

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

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

9. What is anosognosis? What problem does this state present to medical researchers?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What was Sacks's opinion of his leg while it was in the cast? Why did he have this opinion? Given what he says about his second injury some ten years later, how might he have changed this errant perception of his left leg in a cast?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

How does Sacks describe his first ten minutes of walking again (Chapter Five, pgs 123-24)? How did this return him to the moment of humanity? How does this compare to Donne's quote at the beginning of Chapter Two?

(see the answer keys)

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