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 does Ellison say civil wars are fought?

2. Who is Ellison named after?

3. What does Ellison believe is the true "Negro experience?"

4. What does the phrase "beating that boy" mean?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. What is Ellison's basic quarrel with Hyman?

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

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

9. What does Ellison find so remarkable about Crane?

10. What does Ellison admire most about "The Primer for White Folks?"

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Who is Stephen Crane and why is Ellison so interested in him? What is it about Crane's style of writing that is important to Ellison's thinking about good writing? What does Crane do that makes him unique? Clearly Ellison holds Crane up as a great model for all novelists who follow. Is it Crane's technique, his ability to write in such specific ways, what impresses Ellison or is it Crane's willingness to look into the heart of the American culture and see what is there?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

The final essay in the book was never published. It is a book review of the Swedish economist Gunnar Myrdal who was brought in by the Carnegie Foundation to study the "Negro problem." What is Ellison's primary reaction to the book? What is positive in Myrdal's assessment? What does Ellison object to? Why do you think the review was never published?

(see the answer keys)

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