Ada; or, Ardor: A Family Chronicle 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 doctor does Ada go to visit?

2. What happens to the weather during Demon's dinner with Marina, Van, and Ada?

3. What does Dick give Van as payment for losing the card game?

4. Who is at home when Van first arrives at Ardis Hall?

5. When Demon sees Ada, what about her appearance can he not bear?

Short Essay Questions

1. Where and in what circumstances do Van and Ada first have sex?

2. What does Ada say lions do when they eat a person?

3. What are the circumstances of Marina's first romantic liaison with Demon?

4. How does Van circumvent the rules about what Ada is supposed to read from the library?

5. How does young Van feel about Ada?

6. What happens in Van's stage act?

7. How does Van feel about Cordula?

8. How does Dick cheat at cards, and how does Van best him?

9. How does Van first see Ada?

10. What does Van do, when Ada suggests he spank Lucette?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Nabokov is known for wordplay, and part of this is using significant names or manipulating names. Discuss the names of characters and places in the novel.

1) What meanings are put onto the characters' names by their association with other words? For example, what do Demon, Aqua, and Marina's names mean? What meanings are put on "Ada" and "Van"?

2) Discuss the name of Ardis Hall and what meanings and associations it has in the novel.

3) How do characters' names change in different contexts? What do these name changes signify?

Essay Topic 2

The central story of the novel is focused on the incestuous relationship between Ada and Van. Discuss incest in the novel.

1) What are Van and Ada's attitudes toward incest? The implication is that even as children, they know they are brother and sister. Do they hide this knowledge from themselves? Do they accept it?

2) Why do Ada and Van change their mind about living together when Demon finds out? Are their self-perceptions changed by Demon's admission of their relationship as siblings? Are their actions driven by Demon's open knowledge of the secret? What are the societal attitudes involved?

3) Why does Van tell Lucette he doesn't want another incestuous relationship with her? What is different about a relationship with Lucette, as opposed to any other unrelated woman?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss madness in the novel.

1) What is Aqua's madness in the novel? Why does she go from sanitarium to sanitarium, and why does she kill herself?

2) What types of madness do Van's patients display? Why do mad patients see visions of Terra in the novel?

(see the answer keys)

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