Shadow and Act 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. Where does Ellison grow up?

2. Who is Irving Howe?

3. Where is the essay "Stephen Crane and the Mainstream of American Fiction" published?

4. Why does Ellison chose not to emphasize the details of racial hardship in his life?

5. Which critics of "Black Boy" does Ellison want to respond to?

Short Essay Questions

1. How did a library for Negro persons emerge in Oklahoma City?

2. What does the mural above the bandstand at Minton's depict?

3. How does the early film "Birth of the Nation" portray Negro persons?

4. Did Richard Wright influence Baldwin or Ellison?

5. Who was it that suggested to Ellison that he review a book and write a short story?

6. What is the film "Intruder in the Dust" about?

7. Why does Ellison choose to write about Faulkner?

8. In the Paris Review (Spring 1955) Ellison was interviewed about his work as a writer. What does he say his first piece of professional writing was?

9. Though "Black Boy" presents a brutal and violent world, what else does it manage to convey about the young Wright?

10. What type of music does the upstairs singer practice all day?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Ellison poetically describes a lost and lovely world in "The Golden Age, Time Past." Minton's Playhouse is an amalgamation of home, community, the South, and the noisy excitement of New York City. What influence does Henry Minton have upon the jazz musicians he nurtures? What is the atmosphere like? How is creativity nourished?

Essay Topic 2

In "Change the Joke and Slip the Yoke" Ellison challenges Stanley Hyman's assertion the "smart man playing dumb" role is primarily Negro. What does Ellison propose is the true case? What examples does he use to argue that this "joke" is much broader than Negro culture? How does this understanding fit with the larger theme in Ellison's work of the relationship between Negro culture and American culture?

Essay Topic 3

The Lafargue Psychiatric Clinic is profiled with a sense of gratitude and anger. What is Ellison angry about and why? As much as he admires the clinic, why does he feel it should not be necessary? What is at the source of mental suffering for many persons in the Harlem community?

(see the answer keys)

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