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 did Styron do for Hoffman regarding a political demonstration led by Hoffman?

2. Why is Styron so sad about Hoffman's suicide?

3. At what point in one's life does Styron say the seeds of depression are planted?

4. Though Styron feels alone, who is always with him?

5. According to Styron, who wrote about depression and seemed to really understand it?

Short Essay Questions

1. What happened to Styron as his depression progressed?

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

3. What did Styron say about someone being able to describe depression?

4. What hope does Styron offer to those who survive depression?

5. What did Styron say was his most difficult piece of writing, and how did he describe it?

6. What happened to Styron's body as he succumbed to depression?

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

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

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

10. Styron gave little credence to his outpatient therapy, but said what about the 50 minutes involved?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the possible meaning Camus had when he talked about man's alienation for other men. What does this perspective mean, given his diagnosis of depression? Would he have seen the world the same way if he had not suffered depression? Do you think Styron agreed with him? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss what Styron's purpose is for writing "Darkness Visible." What might he want us to know and understand about his subject? Include what he states openly as well as what you understand him to want to say. Why does he think it is important to make us understand this?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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