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. What does Wright do at age four?

2. What is dangerous and different about Wright's attitude?

3. As a child what is Wright unable to distinguish between?

4. For Ellison who is the greatest artist the south has ever produced?

5. What specific folk art form does "Black Boy" reflect?

Short Essay Questions

1. What writers are at issue in the exchange between Irving Howe and Ralph Ellison?

2. How does Ellison leave the rather bitter dialogue with Howe?

3. What were some of the catastrophic events which occurred in Wright's life?

4. What does the phrase "The World and the Jug" refers to?

5. What does the Negro say when white America holds up twentieth century fiction and say "this is the American reality?"

6. What is different about Oklahoma and the relationship of different races when compared to the South or even to Texas?

7. What is the difference between the way Hyman and Ellison view "the darky" entertainer?

8. What does the second half of the title "Hidden Names and Complex Fate" refer to?

9. What does the phrase "beating that boy" refer to?

10. What is the common image of the Negro in contemporary literature according to Ellison?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Ellison's childhood is joyful and full of many artistic influences. What in the interview "That Same Pain, That Same Pleasure" gives you the most insight into his childhood? What activities stir up in the young Ellison that romantic longing and belief that any kind of life is possible? How does music and dance affect his life? Who are his heroes? Why?

Essay Topic 2

The final essay in the book was never published. It is a book review of the Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal who was brought in by the Carnegie Foundation to study the "Negro problem." What is Ellison's primary reaction to the book? What is positive in Myrdal's assessment? What does Ellison object to? Why do you think the review was never published?

Essay Topic 3

In "Some Questions and Some Answers" Ellison makes the provocative statement that there is no Negro culture. What does he mean by this? How does he support his argument? What history does he draw upon to reveal his thinking on this matter?

(see the answer keys)

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