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. Styron agrees with what literary guide's belief?

2. When is depression at its worst?

3. What pressing question does Styron have about the course of depression?

4. What characteristic of depression make Styron's memoir limited in benefit?

5. What puzzles Styron about Camus's book, "The Fall"?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What is the relationship between artistic temperaments and suicide and what was Styron's appeal in relationship to it?

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 did Styron say about the impression his intense thoughts of suicide would have on others?

5. What did Styron say caused the incipient insomnia that depressed people often experienced?

6. What sort of attachments did Styron form as his depression progressed?

7. How did Styron begin preparing for his death?

8. What other changes occurred with Styron beside mental distress?

9. What happened to Styron and his drinking habits and how did that affect him?

10. Discuss the death of the poet, Randall Jarrell, who was a friend of Styron's. Was his death a suicide or accident, according to the coroner? What did Styron suspect, and why?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

A memoir is somewhat like a figurative photograph of the writer. It may be like an individual photograph or a group photograph. It offers sensory and symbolic details that paint a picture of the writer at that point in time. Discuss how Styron uses sensory detail and symbolic writing to paint his picture. Give examples from the book of how he does this, including language he may have used.

Essay Topic 2

The difference between an autobiography and a memoir is that the memoir is about a specific topic or time span in the author's life. An autobiography is similar, but usually takes a more global look at the writer's life, including background information that leads up to the point in time of the events being examined. Discuss how Darkness Visible is a memoir, but has some characteristics of autobiography. Defend your idea of whether the work is a memoir or more of an autobiography. Use examples from the book to prove your position.

Essay Topic 3

Styron suggests that brainstorm would be a better name for the physical ramifications of depression, but brainstorm means the opposite of what he meant it to be. What does brainstorm mean, as used normally, and what is it as Styron meant it? Compare and contrast the two meanings.

(see the answer keys)

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