A Woman Alone: Autobiographical Writings 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 did Bessie define culture?

2. What happened to Snowball?

3. What race was Bessie's mother?

4. Why does Bessie believe that the artist Gladys Mgudlandlu is so successful?

5. What did their landlady do to Snowball despite Bessie's protests?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why was Bessie given up for adoption?

2. In 1982, Bessie writes about her reaction when people discussed her writing. Why did she get so frustrated?

3. Why is there no rage and oppression in Botswana?

4. Why is Bessie so drawn to the American woman in "Woman from America"?

5. In "An Unspeakable Crime," why does Bessie feel discouraged by the South African blacks?

6. What facts about her parentage were brutally told to Bessie by the magistrate and the missionary?

7. In "The Woman From America," what was the biggest threat that this woman and her husband posed to the village?

8. What did Bessie think of the mission orphanage that she was sent to at age 13?

9. In "Village People," how does Bessie describe the black African people?

10. In "The Old Woman," what is Bessie referring to when she says "Gods walk around Africa barefoot with nothing"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The artist, Gladys Mgudlandlu, was extremely popular in South Africa because of her escapism theory. Why does Bessie refer to her as "the exuberant innocent"? Does she think of her and her escapism theory as naïve? Does she see it as not wanting to deal with real issues? Do you think Bessie thought it was wrong of her to encourage the black South Africans to just "sit back and let God deal with it"? Was this just offering them a good excuse to do nothing about their situation? If there was no oppression, do you think that this artist would have been as popular?

Essay Topic 2

Bessie views African religion as "within oneself," with no need for institutions or communal worship. Does this seem to work well, for them? Why does Bessie think that this fits into their basic philosophy of life? Bessie states that this is the religion of any people who have never been wanted by the rest of mankind nor had the means or education to find God in a "posh place." Do you agree with this statement? Does a place of worship have to be posh? Is the fact of a community coming together more important than the structure that they worship in? Why, do you think, she assumes that all organized religions have elegant places of worship? Do you think she's right? Given the black South African's sense of being set apart from the rest of the world, do you think their type of "individual" worship only serves to emphasize their "aloneness"? Would a more group-based religion make them feel like part of something larger?

Essay Topic 3

While Bessie is a true supporter of the black Africans, she can also be highly critical of them. Their lack of initiative in trying to better their situation is a common frustration to Bessie. List three examples that illustrate Bessie's frustration with perceived "passivity" of other black Africans. Bessie admits that she prefers to be on the sidelines when writing. Do you think that it's fair for Bessie to judge others from the sidelines instead of getting actively involved herself?

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