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 is dangerous and different about Wright's attitude?

2. Who names Ellison?

3. What writers does Ellison wish had been included in the "Primer for White Folks"?

4. What does Ellison say the greatest difficulty for the Negro writer is?

5. What type of jug does Ellison say Howe imagines Negro people to be in?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Ellison admire most about "The Primer for White Folks?"

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

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

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

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

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

7. Why was the young Ellison drawn to reading?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the film review "The Shadow and the Act" Ellison criticizes Hollywood's portrayal of Negro Americans as "Shadow," by which he means illusion. The act refers to reality, what truly is, which Hollywood shows little interest in revealing. Describe Ellison's theory and show how he uses the example of film to reveal what is for him an overall American habit of focusing on illusion rather than reality.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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