Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination Test | Final 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. A common claim is that white America has considered morality and other virtues without reference to which group?

2. What are the two characters who discuss sex in Hemingway's work?

3. What group of America's population offers itself up as a surrogate, in Morrison's point of view?

4. In one of Hemingway's works, which character provides a juxtaposition to Catherine?

5. What does the American group that offers itself up as a surrogate represent a meditation on?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the quote Morrison uses from James Snead's book on Faulkner?

2. According to Morrison, who responds best to culture and why?

3. According to Morrison, when is mankind bereft?

4. According to Morrison, what does Poe's work show?

5. What does Morrison hope to avert the critical gaze from and to?

6. Why does Morrison suggest that Dunbar's finer sensibilities have been dulled?

7. Describe the unmanageable slips throughout Poe's work.

8. What is Morrison's deliberation entirely about?

9. Describe To Have and Have Not.

10. What characteristics does Morrison describe as being the distinguishing features of non-Americans?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

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

Morrison claims that ignoring race in literature is a racist act in itself. Why is this true or untrue? Point out at least two of her arguments and provide support for them and criticize them.

(see the answer keys)

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