Darkness Visible 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 Styron realize in Paris that helps him understand what is happening to him?

2. What is the award Styron receives?

3. What did Styron's friend, Abbie Hoffman, do professionally?

4. What philosophical question does Gary present as central to all philosophy; a question that confuses Styron until years later when he suffers his depression?

5. What is Styron not able to recover?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why did Cino del Duca, whom the award was named for, decide to publish works of literary merit?

2. Where did Styron meet Abbie Hoffman, and why was Hoffman's suicide so hard to accept?

3. Why did Styron refuse to go to a luncheon with Simone del Duca, even though he had made an appointment to do so?

4. What statistics did Styron give about depression and suicide?

5. What about the hospital was conducive to Styron's rapid recovery after months of intense suffering?

6. What did the suicides of several of his friends, who had distinguished careers and were obviously intelligent and known for their strong character, cause Styron to do? How was his beliefs opposed to the general public view?

7. What did Styron say was so harmful that doctors were prone to do for depressed people and why?

8. What is known about the causes of depression, according to Styron?

9. What reasons might be given for Styron not having been hospitalized earlier?

10. How did Styron describe the internal struggle with depression? What was causing this internal struggle, beside just the depression?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The title of Styron's book, "Darkness Visible," comes from a quote from Milton's "Paradise Lost," describing Hell. Discuss why Styron might have chosen such a work to quote from. What about his condition might have led him to be attracted to such a work? What is the significance of choosing a quote describing hell to open his memoir on depression?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss Styron's comments and thoughts about the stigma associated with mental illness. Include his recommendations for how to overcome that stigma. Give examples from the book showing both his thoughts and his recommendations.

Essay Topic 3

A "touchstone text" is a text that can be used to illustrate examples of components of a type of writing style. "Darkness Visible" could be used as a touchstone text for memoir writing. Some of the components of memoir writing are: 1) focus and reflection on the relationship between the writer and a particular topic; 2) explanation of the significance of the relationship; 3) provides one impression of the subject of the memoir; 4) is limited to a particular phase, time period, place, or recurring behavior in order to develop the focus fully; 5) makes the subject of the memoir come alive; and, 6) maintains a first person point of view. Discuss and give examples from "Darkness Visible" to indicate if Styron is successful with each of the six points.

(see the answer keys)

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