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. During one sleepless episode, what does Styron realize about his illness?

2. Where does Styron spend his summers?

3. In the depth of his depression in Paris, what does Styron realize he would have to decide?

4. What is the award Styron receives?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why were the new medicines becoming available in the 1980's and Dr. Gold's approach to them indicative of how depression was viewed and treated during that time? Why was it not sufficient?

3. What was Styron doing that was harming him, making his depression worse, though he thought it was helping?

4. What did Styron say is true of those who suffer from severe depression and recover?

5. What role does Styron say friends and family play for the person with depression?

6. What event caused Styron to realize he needed to go to the hospital?

7. What happened to Styron as his depression progressed?

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

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

10. 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?

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

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 difference between an autobiography and a memoir is that the memoir is about a specific topic or time span in the author's life. An autobiography is similar, but usually takes a more global look at the writer's life, including background information that leads up to the point in time of the events being examined. Discuss how Darkness Visible is a memoir, but has some characteristics of autobiography. Defend your idea of whether the work is a memoir or more of an autobiography. Use examples from the book to prove your position.

(see the answer keys)

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