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

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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. 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

"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?

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

Overall Ellison praises LeRoi Jones book "Blues People." However, there are elements of Jones' analysis of the blues which are not up to Ellison's high standards. What are the major criticisms he makes of Jones? How does he support his argument against the conclusions Jones comes to?

(see the answer keys)

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