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. Where does Percy de Prey ask Van to meet him?

2. How do Ada and Van keep their correspondence secret?

3. What gift does Dan give Ada for her birthday?

4. What is the "eremitic reality or collective dream" Van discusses in his dissertation called?

5. What word does the person who left the note in Van's jacket use for "dupe"?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the encounter between Blanche and Van.

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

3. How does Van feel about Cordula?

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

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

6. How does Marina describe Jews to her daughter?

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

8. What reason does Van give Marina for leaving?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

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 mental and physical worlds in the novel.

1) How does the mental world of Van's intellectual investigations and books relate to the physical world around him?

2) How does Van's mental relationship with Ada relate to their physical relationship?

3) How does the balance of mind and body, mental and physical change over time, as Van ages?

(see the answer keys)

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