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's aunt resembles

2. The Danish word for "black" that Helga hears in town is

3. When she finds Anne gone upon her return from the tea, Helga

4. Back in Harlem, Anne has

5. Dr. Anderson would hope that Helga would, instead, prefer to

Short Essay Questions

1. Discuss Helga's newly emerging feelings about the black population around her in New York. What might this mean about Helga?

2. Discuss the reasons for Helga's newfound happiness with her life in New York. What is it that pleases her in these new surroudings? Why does she feel better here than in Chicago?

3. What surprises does Katrina's character bring in the story? Does she provide a safe haven or a sense of family for Helga? Why, or why not?

4. 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?

5. Discuss Axel Olsen's inappropriateness with Helga. What kind of person is he? Why does Helga reject him?

6. Is Helga feeling regret as she leaves Naxos? Why or why not? Is this a good move for her career? Is sh being responsible?

7. Describe Helga's opinions of Naxos as an institution. Would Naxos be a popular school in today's world? Why, or why not?

8. What exactly happens to Helga in Denmark? What is her social life like? Is she doomed to be unhappy again? Why?

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

10. Why does Helga return to Harlem? Discuss her newfound spiritual ties to the black population here. Is it the same connection she felt before? Why, or why not?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

In the 1920s, being of mixed race was not easy, as exemplified by these stories. How have things changed in America in this regard, or have they? Is there more freedom now for mixed marriages and bi-racial children? Why, or why not? What are some of the hardships faced by bi-racial couples and children?

Essay Topic 3

Write an essay about the music in Harlem during the 1920s, including popular musicians and their audiences. Do some of the same venues still exist there? Does the traditional music of the 1920s still exist there? What permanent mark did early Harlem leave on music, if any?

(see the answer keys)

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