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. What does Ralph Ellison's father hope that Ralph will grow up to be?

2. What is dangerous and different about Wright's attitude?

3. Who is Henry Bowman Otto Davis?

4. What type of literature does Ellison believe Wright's novel "Black Boy" is?

5. What does Ellison suggest as a subtitle for "Primer for White Folks?"

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What does Ellison critique about the authors included in the Primer?

5. Did Richard Wright influence Baldwin or Ellison?

6. What is the difference between the way Hyman and Ellison view "the darky" entertainer?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In "Change the Joke and Slip the Yoke" Ellison challenges Stanley Hyman's assertion the "smart man playing dumb" role is primarily Negro. What does Ellison propose is the true case? What examples does he use to argue that this "joke" is much broader than Negro culture? How does this understanding fit with the larger theme in Ellison's work of the relationship between Negro culture and American culture?

Essay Topic 2

In the four articles on musicians written for the Saturday Review, Ellison explores the development of each individual artist. What do Mahalia Jackson, Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian and Jimmy Rushing have in common? Why does Ellison choose both nationally famous and locally famous musicians to write about? How are the careers and styles of the four musicians different?

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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