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. What the Dahls have wanted all along was

2. Helga wants to leave Naxos because

3. Helga feels that at Naxos she is

4. Dr. Anderson has assumed that Helga's good qualities are due to

5. Her deepest regret over the incident with Anderson is

Short Essay Questions

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

2. 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?

3. Something about Anne has begun to wear on Helga. What is it? Is Helga's irritability justified? Why?

4. Devastated over losing what she secretly hoped would develop into an affair with Anderson, Helga's depression returns. Discuss the worship service that she happens upon, and its symbolism.

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

6. What was it about Helga's past that was so unhappy? Is her unhappiness justified? Why, or why not?

7. Why does Helga's lack of references hurt her job search? Why does she have no references?

8. Discuss Helga's "maladjustment" at Naxos. Is it about the school, or is it about Helga, or both?

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

10. How does Larsen tell us that Helga is irreparably damaged from her childhood? Helga does not complain much - how do we know that she carries old wounds?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How is Larsen's own attitude toward black women's sexuality revealed, both in Quicksand and Passing? Was Larsen a prude? Was she concerned about the stereotyping of black women? If so, how does she demonstrate her attitudes in these stories?

Essay Topic 2

Is there really such a place as Naxos? If not, trace the history of the first schools in the south that were strictly designed for African American students. Were they designed to uplift the black race, or to teach assimilation?Were they comparable to Naxos in terms of their goals and objectives? If so, in what ways?

Essay Topic 3

What is the current level of poverty among African Americans in the American South? Choose three southern states and compare and contrast the income levels, education and population densities and racial demographics. To what can you attribute the variations among the three states?

(see the answer keys)

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