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

2. What was the first exercise that Sacks tried to do with the physiotherapist?

3. The night before the operation, Sacks called up his family and friends. What did he tell them could happen if he were to die during the operation?

4. After realizing that he was the victim of the fall, what did Sacks do?

5. When Sacks began to write to Luria, where did Luria live?

Short Essay Questions

1. When touching his left leg for the first time after surgery, what did Sacks feel? How does his description of this moment pave the way for the truth about the leg?

2. How did Sacks move from the world of freedom into the world of the hospital? How might this have contributed to his thought that the operation on the following day would actually be an execution?

3. Sacks's description of the Caster, Mr. Enoch, is amusingly melodramatic and terrified. In your opinion, why was Sacks scared of Mr. Enoch?

4. 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?

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

6. 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?

7. 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?

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

9. With what quote does Sacks begin Chapter Three? How does this set the tone for the entire chapter?

10. During the first night in the hospital whom did Sacks see in his dream? How did Sacks live to imitate this person?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

On what did Sacks pin his hopes of recovery? How does this describe his mentality? How does it describe his attitude?

Essay Topic 3

"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?

(see the answer keys)

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