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. Who is Van's first sexual experience with?

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

3. Who is at home when Van first arrives at Ardis Hall?

4. What is the Andalusian architect Alonso supposed to design?

5. What article does Uncle Dan try to read?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Describe the encounter between Blanche and Van.

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

4. How does Demon discover that Van is living with Ada?

5. What does Van propose about the future in his treatise on time?

6. How does young Van feel about Ada?

7. What does Marina chastise Van for, after calling him into her room?

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

9. What does Van say is as common in dreams as metaphors are in poetry?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Van and Ada part bitterly after 1888 because of jealousy, and jealousy plays an important role in their relationship. Discuss jealousy in the novel.

1) Why is Van so jealous of Ada's other sexual relationships, when he is also sexually active without her? How is Ada jealous of Van?

2) How is Lucette jealous of Ada? How does her jealousy affect and define her relationships with Van and with Ada?

3) What other jealousies exist in the novel? How do the different characters respond to and think of jealousy?

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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