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 is the name of the college Ellison attended?

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

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

4. What are Crane's parents like?

5. Where and when is "The World and The Jug" published?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. Where do Ellison and Hyman divide in their understanding of black face minstrel performance?

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

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

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

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

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

"The World and the Jug" is an angry, often humorous response to the white, northern liberal writer Irving Howe's article about Richard Wright, James Baldwin and Ralph Ellison. What is Ellison's primary anger towards Howe based in? What pattern does he believe Howe has fallen into that is so similar to the discriminatory patterns against Negroes in America in general? What does Ellison argue that Howe is continuing when it comes to understanding the relationship between Negro and white culture?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

"Richard Wright's Blues" explores the history of southern Negro culture. What was the atmosphere Wright grew up in? What would he have been afraid of? Where did the violence, especially the beating and punishment from Negro parents upon their children, come from? How did this environment affect the young Wright? If he had stayed in the south would he have bloomed into the writer and thinker that he did? What did Ellison think about the chances of that happening?

(see the answer keys)

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