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. Why does Ellison reject the "hard-boiled" novel style of writing?

2. How does Ellison start writing?

3. What are the three major section of the "Primer for White Folks?"

4. Who is Stanley Edgar Hyman?

5. How does Ellison describe his relationship with Howe?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Who does the song "They picked poor robin clean" remind Ellison of?

3. Did Richard Wright influence Baldwin or Ellison?

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

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

6. What is the "hidden name" Ellison is referring in the title of his speech to the Library of Congress in 1064?

7. What does the mural above the bandstand at Minton's depict?

8. What does Ellison understand the term "Negro culture" to mean?

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

10. As a child Ellison imagined himself as a "Renaissance man." What does that mean?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

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 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

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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