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. In "Village people," Bessie states that African peace is what?

2. Bessie Head was born in what year?

3. What animal was involved in the story that the American woman told Bessie regarding a vision?

4. In "The woman from America," what state in America is the woman from?

5. What does Bessie state that the South African blacks hoard?

Short Essay Questions

1. What more compassionate details concerning her mother did Bessie learn over time?

2. In "preface to Witchcraft," why is Bessie angry with South Africa?

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

4. Why was Bessie given up for adoption?

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

6. How does Bessie describe Botswana in 1964?

7. In "Village People," how does Bessie describe poverty in Africa?

8. In "A Gentle People," what are Bessie's feelings regarding the black people of Cape Town?

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

10. How was African Independence celebrated in Botswana?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In "Preface to witchcraft," Bessie states that while living in South Africa she lived with a shattering sense of anxiety. Do you think that some anxiety remained even after her move to Botswana? Do you feel a sense of this in her writings? Is the format of "A Woman Alone" a reflection of an anxious person? Does the constant "skipping around" from one to piece to another, one subject to another, speak of an anxious brain? Do you perceive a lack of finishing one thing before starting another? Or, do you think the format is intentional and simply reflects Bessie's individual style?

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

Conflict is the main theme of "A Woman Alone". Do you think that there was just as much internal conflict in the book as external? Do you believe that external conflicts are a direct result of individual internal conflicts? Explain Bessie's internal conflict regarding her avoidance of all things revolutionary and liberatory. Was she always proud of this? Did it sometimes create problems with others? Do you think that Bessie avoided these issues because she didn't think that they were effective or because she knew that she couldn't deal with them mentally?

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