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 occasion of Ellison's speech "Brave Words on a Startling Occasion?"

2. What is the name of the college Ellison attended?

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

4. What does Ellison say the "Negro problem" actually is?

5. What type of jug does Ellison believe young Negro writers, such as himself, are in?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What, for Ellison, is the great shaping event of twentieth-century fiction?

3. What writers are at issue in the exchange between Irving Howe and Ralph Ellison?

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

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

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

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

8. What is the "hidden name" Ellison is referring in the title of his speech to the Library of Congress in 1064?

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

10. What does Ellison compare Wright's personal journey of blooming to?

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

"Brave Words for a Startling Occasion" is Ellison's acceptance speech when he received the American National Book award. Why was it, for Ellison, a startling occasion? What about his speech is brave? What is the overall theme of this speech?

Essay Topic 3

In "Living with Music" Ellison literally finds himself overwhelmed by the group of people who live around him. His struggle to find his own peace within a larger and very noisy society is a metaphor for the way he sees the individual constantly struggling against the group in life. How does he find peace? What method does he use to carve out his space and literally "be heard?"

(see the answer keys)

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