Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination 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. Who is the author of Three Lives?

2. Who was Cardinal warned against having relationships with?

3. Which of the dichotomies is shown in the example of a slave woman being kind to her mistress's children but her own mother is not good to her?

4. Who did Morrison thank for helping her with the book?

5. Who is the author of the quote from Preludes IV?

Short Essay Questions

1. To Morrison, why are reading and writing not extremely distinct for a writer?

2. What does Morrison believe studies of racism focus on?

3. What implication stems from the fact that imagination produces work?

4. Who does Morrison blame for literary whiteness and blackness?

5. What risk does Morrison accept in discussing studies of racism?

6. Describe The Words to Say It and its subject matter.

7. After reading the preface, what can the reader expect Morrison to discuss?

8. Describe the file that Morrison begins to keep.

9. Until recently, what did Morrison assume about all readers of American fiction?

10. According to Morrison, what does a black woman represent to literature but not to herself?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Morrison started a file to document instances of black people igniting moments of discovery in literature not written by them. Why is this significant? Why did Morrison begin doing this? Is this a positive or negative thing for Morrison to do? Why? What effect did doing this have on Morrison?

Essay Topic 2

According to Morrison, what are literary whiteness and literary blackness? What are the consequences of literary whiteness and blackness? How were literary whiteness and blackness created? How does Morrison avoid these two concepts?

Essay Topic 3

In Morrison's Playing in the Dark, she discusses the dichotomies that black people are encouraged to fit into. Black people in literature are seen as markers for the benevolent and wicked, spiritual and voluptuous, sinful and enticing, and pure and restrained. Discuss an example of each of these dichotomies. Then explain why it is harmful for black people to be pushed into these roles constantly in literature.

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