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. Where does Styron spend his summers?

2. How does Camus's essay about a prisoner on death row impact Styron's writing?

3. What does Styron say about alcohol's mood-altering characteristics?

4. What does Gary confess to Styron about Camus's depression?

5. What is the term Styron uses to better describe what is happening to a person with depression?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. What happened to Styron's first work and what was its title?

4. What advice did Styron give for the person suffering from depression?

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

6. Discuss how Styron says he attempted to handle the increasing malaise that began to overcome him beginning in the summer.

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

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

9. What did the diary represent to Styron? What did he do with it?

10. As Styron contemplated and planned for his suicide, what two feelings did he describe?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

One of the characteristics of a good memoir is for the author to take one position in relevance to the topic. Does Styron effectively take one position in relation to depression? Give proof of your position from the book. What references from the book support his taking a certain stance, or did he fail to do that? What is his position (s) in reference to depression?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss how Styron's depression and the influence of the writings of his friends impacted his writing. Discuss the influences can we see of not only his own depression, but the writings of Camus on Styron's work.

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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