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 does Ada think of telling Lucette, to get her to leave Van alone?

2. What does Marina suspect might be Van's reason for leaving?

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

4. Why does Ada tell stories at meals?

5. What does Blanche tell Van?

Short Essay Questions

1. What do Demon think of Marina's career as an actress?

2. How does Lucette want to draw flowers, when her sister is trying to teach her to draw?

3. What does Ada have to do before she can go off and meet Van in private in Chapter 20?

4. How does Van feel about Marina?

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

6. How does Aqua kill herself?

7. How does Van first see Ada?

8. What are the rules of marriage among relatives that Van and Ada discuss?

9. Describe the encounter between Blanche and Van.

10. What reason does Van give Marina for leaving?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

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 3

Discuss siblings, cousins, and their relationships in the novel.

1) What are the relationships between Marina and Aqua? How are they similar to each other? How does Aqua serve as a substitute for Marina? How does this compare to the relationship between Demon and Dan?

2) Discuss the relationship between Lucette and Ada? How are they similar and different, and what does their relationship as sisters have to do with their similarities? How does Lucette serve as a substitute for Ada?

3) Discuss the relationship between Ada and Van as brother and sister. How does their relationship as siblings change their associations? What similarities does it create between them?

(see the answer keys)

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