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 considers the clothing of the staff to be

2. When she is dressed for tea, Helga's uncle decides that she

3. Anne's feelings about racism cause her to

4. Dr. Anderson's rejection of her leaves Helga

5. How did Helga's mother lift herself out of her bad situation?

Short Essay Questions

1. 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.

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

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

4. How has the gift of Uncle Peter's money affected Helga? Was this a kind gesture on his part? Why or why not?

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

6. 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?

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

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. Why did Uncle Peter's wife reject Helga? Is she an unreasonable woman? Is she cruel? Explain your answers.

10. What is the YWCA and why is Helga there? Is this a safe haven for her? Does it meet her high living standards?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

From a woman's perspective, did Larsen break ground for or elevate women in her writing? For blacks? For black women? How did Larsen's characters portray women, in general? Was it constructive? Do the characters provide an example of strong, evolving womanhood? Why, or why not?

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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