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 does Sacks describe the six-hour ambulance ride to the next hospital?

2. What was the primary reason that Sacks and his friends celebrated the evening after his surgery?

3. Where did Sacks finish writing his book?

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

5. When Nurse Solveig returned to take out Sacks's thermometer, what emotion did she convey?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

3. As Sacks began to regain freedom and move around the hospital, he frequently mentioned natural elements: the birds, sun, and wind. Given what you know of his personality, why are these things important?

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

5. While descending the mountain, what vision did Sacks cling to? Why do you think this was the picture he chose?

6. A large portion of the horror Sacks felt in Limbo was the silence. What other time has Sacks experienced such deep silence? How does this connection contribute to Limbo?

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

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

9. How did Sacks treat the warning sign about the bull? What does this reveal about his attitude?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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

Essay Topic 2

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.

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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