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. How does Ellison start writing?

2. Why does Oklahoma hold some freedom and equality for Negroes at the time Ellison lived there?

3. Who is Henry Bowman Otto Davis?

4. How does Ellison describe the philosopher Kierkegaard in the "Stephen Crane.." essay?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What is different about Oklahoma and the relationship of different races when compared to the South or even to Texas?

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

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

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

6. What were the two greatest influences upon Crane's life, in Ellison's estimation?

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

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

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

10. What does Ellison find so remarkable about Crane?

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

Who is Stephen Crane and why is Ellison so interested in him? What is it about Crane's style of writing that is important to Ellison's thinking about good writing? What does Crane do that makes him unique? Clearly Ellison holds Crane up as a great model for all novelists who follow. Is it Crane's technique, his ability to write in such specific ways, what impresses Ellison or is it Crane's willingness to look into the heart of the American culture and see what is there?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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