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. What is the basic landscape of Botswana?

2. What does Bessie feel is the most important aspect to having friends in South Africa?

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

4. In 1965, what did Bessie write that the people of South Africa need to find in order to live together?

5. What does Bessie enjoy that she feels South Africa denied her?

Short Essay Questions

1. What was Bessie's life like during the two years that she lived in the refugee community in northern Botswana?

2. How does Bessie describe the Botswana flag to students during the independence celebration?

3. In "God and The Underdog," what does Bessie feel fuels revolutions?

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

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

6. What was Bessie's first experience of racism in a black form?

7. In Chapter 2, why is the friendship between Bessie and the American woman painful?

8. In "The Inspiration of Bertolt Brecht," how did Brecht bring Marxism to life?

9. How did Bessie react when she was forbidden to visit her adoptive family on school holidays?

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

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Bessie developed an early love for Capetown and returned there frequently. What did her friends tell her about Capetown in 1958? Why does she love it so much? What sense does she get there? Why do the whites of the Cape describe it as having a liberal tradition? What does Bessie think of their assessment? Why does she say they pride themselves on this? What kind of personality do the Cape Coloureds have that she admires? What compromise have they made with the ruling group? What impressions do you get from Bessie regarding this compromise?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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?

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