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 Baron d'Onsky try to buy from Demon?

2. Why does the governess decide to stay in bed for five days?

3. What meaning does Marina put on Ada's black jumper and black skirt?

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

5. What feature of Ada does Van most delight in?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. How does Van feel about Marina?

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

6. How does young Van feel about Ada?

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

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

9. How does Van first see Ada?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The novel is a memoir, narrated by Van with input from Ada, and written in the third person with occasional first-person interludes. Discuss point of view in the novel.

1) Why does Van write his memoir mainly in the third person? What does this say about Van's perception of himself through time and his memories?

2) At what points does Van interrupt the narrative in the first person? What do these first person sections add to the novel? Why are they there?

3) What does Ada add to the novel? Where is her voice present?

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

As Van's memoir, the novel deals with memory. It also deals with memory through Van's discussion of time and its meaning. Discuss time and memory in the novel.

1) How is the story of Van and Ada's childhood changed by memory? What significance is there to the fact that the children's diaries were destroyed, forcing them to recreate the events from memory?

2) What role does memory plan in Van and Ada's feelings about each other why they are separated?

3) How does time affect the characters? How does Van's discussion of time relate to the characters' experiences?

(see the answer keys)

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