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 bothers Styron so much about not being able to meet Camus?

2. What does Styron want us to understand about those who commit suicide?

3. Why would Jarrell's widow not want to admit he committed suicide?

4. What happens before Styron meets with Camus?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Why was depression such a hard thing for Styron in 1985?

2. Why wasn't Styron concerned about Camus, his ex-wife, and Gary when he learned they were suffering from depression?

3. Discuss why Styron was so appreciative of receiving the del Duca award?

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

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

6. What did Camus speak of that so strongly affected Styron? What relationship did Styron have with Camus?

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

8. What was the paradox Styron described about the hospital as opposed to his own home?

9. What did Styron discover about himself in Paris, during one of his more lucid moments?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Styron's book and its subject becomes quite dark and depressing at times. Also, it is difficult because of the symbolism and the difficult language used. Yet it is considered a classic, worthy of being taught in a high school class. Why is this? What about this subject makes it relative to people today? What about the book makes it an excellent memoir? What comprises the beauty in the book?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Discuss Styron's account of his treatment, including his treatment during hospitalization, and its impact on his recovery. Use examples from the book to support your answers.

(see the answer keys)

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