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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. How old was Styron when he published his first novel?
2. What reaction does Styron have to a flock of Canadian geese?
3. What does Styron say he will do with the prize money he won?
4. In the depth of his depression in Paris, what does Styron realize he would have to decide?
5. How did Levi commit suicide?
Short Essay Questions
1. What happened to Styron and his drinking habits and how did that affect him?
2. What did Styron say was so harmful that doctors were prone to do for depressed people and why?
3. Why was the suicide of Albert Camus and Romain Gary so devastating to Styron?
4. How did Styron begin preparing for his death?
5. 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?
6. What did Styron say caused the incipient insomnia that depressed people often experienced?
7. Who did Styron say the depressed person was dangerous to, and why?
8. As Styron contemplated and planned for his suicide, what two feelings did he describe?
9. What reasons might be given for Styron not having been hospitalized earlier?
10. What did the diary represent to Styron? What did he do with it?
Essay Topic 1
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 2
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 3
Critics have indicated that Styron left much of his personal journey out of the book. As a memoir of madness, we might expect, and deserve, to read more of Styron's journey through madness. Yet, he didn't include it. Why might this be? Would the book have been better or worse if more detail of the struggle had been included? Do you think leaving out the information was by plan or by accident? Why?
This section contains 2,003 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)