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. Ellison says Hemingway sought technical perfection rather than what?

2. What is the origin of the essay "Change the Joke and Slip the Yoke?"

3. Which American writers is the piece "Black Boys and Native Sons" about?

4. How does Ellison describe Wright's autobiography "Black Boy?"

5. Why do Crane and his wife move to England?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. What does Ellison find so remarkable about Crane?

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

7. Why does Ellison consider Stephen Crane to be such a great artist?

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

9. What is Ellison's basic quarrel with Hyman?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

In the essay about Twentieth Century Fiction Ellison is sharply critical of Hemingway. What is it that Hemingway lacks which disappoints Ellison so much? Is his criticism solely of Hemingway or is Ellison critiquing a generation of writers? What changes in the twenty century after World War I? Why does the Negro character disappear? What is Ellison's final conclusion in reference to Hemingway and his technical brilliance?

Essay Topic 3

"The Way It Is" is the earliest example of Ellison's writing which appears in "Shadow and Act." In what ways is it different from the other essays? Do you see the beginnings of Ellison's philosophy and understanding it? If no dates were show, do you think it would have been clear that this was an early work? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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