Lisa, Bright and Dark 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. The novel begins with a recalled conversation between Lisa Shilling and her parents. Which of Lisa's acquaintances is present for the conversation?

2. Which character is described by the narrator as looking "like Shelley Winters playing a roadhouse pick-up...stretch-pants two sizes too small, preshrunk sweaters with classic midriff bulge, a fur coat slung over her shoulders, and a scarf hiding the curlers in her hair" (p. 29)?

3. The narrator states that Lisa Shilling's oldest friend is...

4. The narrator describes which major character as fulfilling the role of school princess (that is, regal, cool, far off, blonde, and slim)?

5. What sport does Brian Morris play?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Lisa Shilling believe that she is suffering form mental illness?

2. Describe the nature of the relationship between Brian Morris and Lisa Shilling in the early part of the novel.

3. What kind of a job does Rev. Fickett do as a church reverend?

4. Why does Lisa Shilling find herself attracted to Elizabeth Frazer, as a potential friend?

5. Why does Betsy Goodman self-describe as the least important person in the narrative?

6. Describe Lisa on a so-called bright day and contrast that description to Lisa on a so-called dark day.

7. Why does Lisa Shilling tell her parents that she thinks she is mentally ill in front of her friend Mary Nell Fickett?

8. In what is Mr. Shilling primarily interested?

9. Why do Mr. and Mrs. Shilling ignore their daughter's repeated assertions that she is mentally ill?

10. Describe the family situation of the four main characters.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Of the four primary fathers in the novel--Mr. Shilling, Mr. Goodman, Rev. Fickett, and Mr. Frazer--who would you most like to have as a father? Why?

Essay Topic 2

Mary Nell Fickett's father is the Reverend Fickett of a local congregation. Although the novel does not give many details about Rev. Fickett is is probably safe to assume he is Christian. Do you think that Mary Nell's character realistically portrays the daughter of a religious leader? What aspects (if any) of Mary Nell's character appear to epitomize the Christian faith? As you read the novel was it easy for you to accept that the Rev. Fickett was indeed a religious leader?

Essay Topic 3

In the final analysis, who is the novel 'about'? Is the novel the story of Lisa Shilling and her fight against mental illness? Or is the novel about Betsy Goodman and her coming of age as a friend in a difficult relationship? Is it about denial in parents and community? Or is it about someone or something else? Explain and defend your selection.

(see the answer keys)

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