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. Helga remembers being in Denmark where people

3. The conversations at the tea Helga attends

4. Helga considers that perhaps her feelings for Dr. Anderson mean that

5. Olsen refers to Helga's refusal of him as

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does Axel Olsen's portrait of Helga symbolize? Is the portrait important to the story? Why or why not?

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

4. Why does Helga feel free on the ship on her way to Denmark? Does being isolated in the middle of the ocean have any effect on her? If so, what?

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

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

7. What is Dr. Anderson's attitude toward the troubles of society? Is he an idealist, or is he a wise man? Use examples to answer.

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. Describe Helga's lifestyle as a teacher. Is it unusual? Why or why not?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Why did Helga Crane not fit into the culture of Naxos? Larsen suggests several reasons, but one stands out above the rest. Helga is a complex character, but has some basic flaws that hinder her development. What were they, and how did they hurt her?

Essay Topic 2

Research and write about Harlem in the 1920s. What made Harlem the haven it became for African Americans? What kinds of people lived there? What was the basic economic structure at that time? Did people generally live in Harlem and work outside, or vice versa? Was black Harlem closed to white folks?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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