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 name of the surgeon who performed Sacks's knee surgery?

2. Where did Sacks's accident occur?

3. What analogy does Sacks use to describe his left leg's failure during therapy?

4. How has Sacks written the book A Leg to Stand On?

5. To what poor instrument did Sacks compare his injured leg?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

3. 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?

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

5. 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?

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

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

8. 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?

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

10. What happened after Sacks tried to catch the bus outside the Kilburn pool? How did this exactly match his previous experiences?

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

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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