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 specific folk art form does "Black Boy" reflect?

2. Where and when is the essay "Change the Joke and Slip the Yoke" published?

3. How old is Crane when he wrote his masterpiece "The Red Badge of Courage?"

4. Who is Richard Wright to Ellison?

5. What is it that widens Ellison's world in a dramatic way?

Short Essay Questions

1. In "Richard Wright's blues" how does Ellison describe the blues?

2. Why was the young Ellison drawn to reading?

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

4. When Ellison accepts the American National Book Award for "The Invisible Man" what does he say that the award is recognizing?

5. What does Ellison compare Wright's personal journey of blooming to?

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

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

8. What, for Ellison, is the great shaping event of twentieth-century fiction?

9. Where do Ellison and Hyman divide in their understanding of black face minstrel performance?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

In "Hidden Name and Complex Fate" Ellison reveals that it was his father, who died when Ellison was three years old, who chose for him the name of a famous white poet and philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and in doing so cast upon him a complex fate. What was that fate and how did it slowly reveal itself through Ellison's life? Why was it such a struggle to come to peace with? Why was it such a blessing and a curse?

Essay Topic 3

Race relations in America have long been a central focus of our culture. In the introduction Ellison prepares the reader to enter this discussion with him. What kind of invitation does he present? What is the emotional tone and feeling of the introduction? What does Ellison reveal about his own perspective on race? Why is it one of the themes of this book of his writing?

(see the answer keys)

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