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. Other white cultures have black face type entertainment, but what is different about American black face?

2. Who is Henry Bowman Otto Davis?

3. What does Ellison believe writing is?

4. What Bible myth is referred to in "The World and the Jug?"

5. What are Crane's parents like?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why was the young Ellison drawn to reading?

3. What does the phrase "beating that boy" refer to?

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

5. Why does Ellison choose to write about Faulkner?

6. When Ellison accepts the American National Book Award for "The Invisible Man" what does he say that the award is recognizing?

7. What was Ellison's writing process for "Change the Joke and Slip the Yoke?"

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

"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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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