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 contact with Ada excites Van?

2. Where is Van and Ada's first sexual encounter?

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

4. What is Marina, Demon, and Daniel's shared birthday?

5. In what language does Van write letters to his mother?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Marina describe Jews to her daughter?

2. What bad habit does Ana stop on her twelfth birthday?

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

4. What causes Lucette to follow Ada and Van around in Chapter 34?

5. How does Van first see Ada?

6. How does Aqua kill herself?

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

8. What did Ada do when Dr. Krolik died?

9. What is the first trick Ada and Van use to escape from Lucette?

10. How does Ada act when she tells stories at the table?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The novel follows Van and Ada from their youth through their old age. Discuss aging in the novel.

1) How does Van change throughout his life? Are his physical changes separable from his mental and emotional changes?

2) How do the characters' values and priorities change over time? What is important to them in their youth and as they grow older?

3) How do the characters' perceptions of the world around them and of their own relationship change as they age?

4) What meaning does the approach of death have for Van and Ada?

Essay Topic 2

Van and Ada part bitterly after 1888 because of jealousy, and jealousy plays an important role in their relationship. Discuss jealousy in the novel.

1) Why is Van so jealous of Ada's other sexual relationships, when he is also sexually active without her? How is Ada jealous of Van?

2) How is Lucette jealous of Ada? How does her jealousy affect and define her relationships with Van and with Ada?

3) What other jealousies exist in the novel? How do the different characters respond to and think of jealousy?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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