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 musician does Ellison see as the true "trickster" archetype?

2. What is Ellison's original choice of career?

3. What book does Hemingway believe all modern American fiction sprang from?

4. How does Ellison describe the writer Malraux?

5. Violence is inflicted upon Wright by family, friends, and society as a whole. What is his response?

Short Essay Questions

1. Ellison originally wanted to be a musician. What changed for him?

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

3. When asked when he began "Invisible Man" what does Ellison answer?

4. What are the two categories Jones places the blues in?

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

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

7. Why does Ellison say that the least form of segregation is the word?

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

9. Where is the Lefargue Psychiatric Clinic located?

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the four articles on musicians written for the Saturday Review, Ellison explores the development of each individual artist. What do Mahalia Jackson, Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian and Jimmy Rushing have in common? Why does Ellison choose both nationally famous and locally famous musicians to write about? How are the careers and styles of the four musicians different?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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