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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. What happens to Styron's writing as he descends into depression?
3. What does Styron think of these two people, who were close literary friends?
4. What does Styron lose at the luncheon in Paris?
5. Which group of people have more incidence of depression than all others?
Short Essay Questions
1. Why did Cino del Duca, whom the award was named for, decide to publish works of literary merit?
2. What hope does Styron offer to those who survive depression?
3. Styron gave little credence to his outpatient therapy, but said what about the 50 minutes involved?
4. What was special about Styron's situation with depression?
5. What other changes occurred with Styron beside mental distress?
6. Discuss why Styron was so appreciative of receiving the del Duca award?
7. Why did Styron say it was so hard for family members to accept a person's suicide, and what did they usually do about it?
8. What did Styron say was so harmful that doctors were prone to do for depressed people and why?
9. What did Styron say about someone being able to describe depression?
10. 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?
Essay Topic 1
Discuss Styron's opinions about the roles biology (genetics, brain chemicals, and influence of meds and alcohol) and environmental factors have in the development of depression. Use passages from the book to support your answers.
Essay Topic 2
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?
Essay Topic 3
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.
This section contains 2,083 words
(approx. 7 pages at 300 words per page)