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. Bessie described her friend, Snowball, as perfectly black except for his what?

2. Who is Bessie referring to in "A Gentle People"?

3. What happened to Snowball?

4. Where was Bessie sent at age 13?

5. In "chibuku beer and independence," who sent free beer for the independence celebration?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Why was Bessie given up for adoption?

4. What does Bessie say about refugees and friendship in "Letter from South Africa"?

5. Why did Bessie keep all the notes that the American woman gave her?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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's views of the white man were formed at an early age. List two experiences in Bessie's early life that you think had a profound effect on her opinion of the white man? List the experiences and Bessie's response to them. Later in life, Bessie was able to see some good in the white man and her hatred lessened. Explain the person and the circumstances surrounding this.

(see the answer keys)

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