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. Where and when is the essay "Change the Joke and Slip the Yoke" published?

2. Why does Ellison choose to analyze Mark Twain?

3. How many children are in Stephen Crane's birth family?

4. What does Ellison say good fiction is made of?

5. Why does Ellison chose not to emphasize the details of racial hardship in his life?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. Why was the young Ellison drawn to reading?

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

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

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

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

9. What does Ellison find so remarkable about Crane?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

Why does Ellison choose "The Shadow and the Act" as the title of the entire book? What is the theme which this film review contains that Ellison finds suitable to place the entire set of writings within? What framework does this title provide for the other essays, articles, speeches, interviews and stories?

Essay Topic 3

In "The Art of Fiction: An Interview" Ellison explores the relationship between art and protest. What does Ellison believe, for him, writing fiction is? Is social comment or protest part of his work at all? If so, how does he see his particular style of writing as contributing to positive social change?

(see the answer keys)

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