Shadow and Act Test | Lesson Plans Mid-Book Test - Hard

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Mid-Book Test - Hard

Name: _________________________ Period: ___________________

This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is the Negro child taught to see the white man as?

2. How old is Stephen Crane when he dies?

3. Where might Crane have gotten information about the Civil War?

4. What does the phrase "to finger its jagged grain and to transcend it" refer to?

5. What type of literature does Ellison believe Wright's novel "Black Boy" is?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why was the young Ellison drawn to reading?

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

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

4. What does Ellison tell us about the matriarch, Mrs. Jackson, in "The Way It Is."

5. What captures the attention of many critics about "Blues People."

6. What does Ellison critique about the authors included in the Primer?

7. What type of food is served at Minton's?

8. What was Ellison's writing process for "Change the Joke and Slip the Yoke?"

9. Why does the Carnegie Foundation bring in a European (Swedish) economist to conduct a study of Negro persons in America?

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

Essay 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

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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