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. When writing her husband from sanatoriums, Aqua sometimes used a Russian term meaning what?

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

3. What does Van dream of the night after he first has sex with Ada?

4. Where does Van hear Ada say "chort" or "devil"?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. How did Percy de Prey die?

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

3. How does young Van feel about Ada?

4. What were the reviews of Van's first book like?

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

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

7. How does Van remember his three farewell lectures on Bergson's Time?

8. How does Van's sexual appetite change over time?

9. How does Marina describe Jews to her daughter?

10. What does Cordula tell Van about Vanda Broom?

Essay 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

Discuss the importance of Ardis Hall in the novel.

1) What meanings and associations does Ardis Hall have for Van and Ada?

2) Why does Van never go back and live at Ardis Hall when he is older? Why does Lucette suggest they go to Ardis Hall?

3) By the end of the novel, Ardis Hall mainly exists in memory for the main characters. How is the memory different from the reality?

(see the answer keys)

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