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 Van's father offer to try to buy for him?

2. What does Marina have in her screwdrivers instead of orange juice?

3. Which of the following authors do Van and Ada like?

4. Where was Van born?

5. What does Ana raise?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How does Aqua kill herself?

4. How does Van feel about Marina?

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

6. Describe the encounter between Blanche and Van.

7. How does Van feel about Cordula?

8. What reason does Van give Marina for leaving?

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

10. How doe Van describe Ada's way of talking when explaining something funny?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Van has a privileged life. Discuss privilege in the novel.

1) What freedoms does Van's wealth and status allow him? How would his life be different if he weren't wealthy?

2) How is it significant that Van has an independent inheritance from Aqua and is not dependent on Demon for money?

3) What is Van's perception of his position of privilege, and how does this perception change throughout his life, from youth to old age?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss sexuality in the novel.

1) How and why is sexuality related to youth in the novel? How does sexuality change with age?

2) How does sexuality relate to love and affection in the novel? What do the characters expect from sex, and what does sex actually provide?

3) What role does sexual decadence, especially represented by the Villa Venus brothels, play in the novel?

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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