Quicksand and Passing 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. Helga has found peace and contentment in

2. In a letter, Anne asks Helga to

3. Helga wants to leave Naxos because

4. With his strange overtures toward her, Axel Olsen shows

5. The reason for Mrs. Hayes-Rore's reaction to Helga's story is that

Short Essay Questions

1. What does the story imply about Mrs. Hayes-Rore's husband? In what might he have been involved? Explain your answers, quoting text.

2. To what do you suppose Helga is attracted in Dr. Anderson? (Hint: Up until now, the author repeatedly mentions a certain aspect of him.)

3. Why would Helga become alienated in a school for Negro children? What makes her different from other faculty.

4. Do we know why Helga loses interest in her present lifestyle? How would you assess Helga if you were her friend or counselor?

5. What is the point of Larsen's description of Helga's response to the music at the club? What does the jungle animal description prove? Is this a racist passage?

6. Why does Helga decide to marry Reverend Green? Does her decision make any sense? Is she not concerned about the reactions of others?

7. Dr. Anderson has almost talked Helga into staying at Naxos. What triggers her rage, and why?

8. Explain Helga's repulsed fascination with the Negro performers. Why does she return over and over to see them? Is this helping her somehow?

9. What is it that disturbs Helga about Naxos' methods of educating children? Are her feelings justified?

10. Why does Anne begin avoiding Helga? Has something come between them? What is it?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Who is Hugh Wentworth? What is his role in Larsen's writing? Do a close review of both stories and determine why Larsen includes Wentworth as a character. Is he simply a literary device for her? What does he represent?

Essay Topic 2

Research the country of Denmark and determine what percent of the population is black. Is Denmark a typical destination for people of color from the US? Why, or why not? How does the general population of that country feel at this time in history about mixed races -- would a bi-racial person feel at home in Denmark today? If you were a black man or woman relocating to Copenhagen, what type of work would you expect to get?

Essay Topic 3

Write a biography, from what you can find through research, of Nella Larsen and her own experiences that contributed to her stories. Are her stories autobiographical? Where did she gain knowledge of the problems of being bi-racial? What impact, if any, did her writing have on Americans?

(see the answer keys)

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