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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. Though Styron feels alone, who is always with him?
2. What characteristic of depression make Styron's memoir limited in benefit?
3. What does Styron say about not returning to France?
4. What did Styron do for Hoffman regarding a political demonstration led by Hoffman?
5. What does Styron say depression is like?
Short Essay Questions
1. Styron gave little credence to his outpatient therapy, but said what about the 50 minutes involved?
2. For the most part, the people Styron list as suffering from depression are artistic types or philosophers. Discuss why this may be so?
3. What sort of therapy was used to help Styron overcome his depression?
4. What is known about the causes of depression, according to Styron?
5. 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?
6. As Styron contemplated and planned for his suicide, what two feelings did he describe?
7. Why did Styron say he believes he lost the award check?
8. What advice did Styron give for the person suffering from depression?
9. What happened to Styron's body as he succumbed to depression?
10. What did Styron say caused the incipient insomnia that depressed people often experienced?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
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 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
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.
This section contains 1,056 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)