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 do Styron's companions notice about him?

2. After Primo Levi's suicide, what causes Styron to question the common view that those who commit suicide are weak and inept?

3. What starts Styron's downward spiral into depression?

4. What does Styron say is the most universal symptom of depression?

5. What does Levi's suicide cause Styron to do?

Short Essay Questions

1. What did Styron have to say about hospitalization for depressed people?

2. What was special about Styron's situation with depression?

3. How did Styron begin preparing for his death?

4. 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?

5. What did the suicide of several of Styron's friends lead him to do, and what was the result of this action?

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

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

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

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

10. What did Styron say was his most difficult piece of writing, and how did he describe it?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

Essay Topic 2

Styron takes offense at the limiting and uninformed perspective people use when assessing people who have either committed or attempted to commit suicide. He takes a totally opposite perspective. Discuss Styron's perspective toward those who suffer from depression to the point of suicide and use examples of what he uses to justify his perspective. Does his justification of his approach really justify his perspective, or is he biased? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss Styron's thoughts about human resiliency and social report and provide examples from the book. How important are each of these to an individual's recovery and survival?

(see the answer keys)

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