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. Why do Crane and his wife move to England?

2. Where might Crane have gotten information about the Civil War?

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

4. Falkner writes exclusively of the southern experience yet Ellison believes him to be addressing what?

5. What are the three themes of "Shadow and Act" according to the Introduction?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. What does Ellison find so remarkable about Crane?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Ellison's childhood is joyful and full of many artistic influences. What in the interview "That Same Pain, That Same Pleasure" gives you the most insight into his childhood? What activities stir up in the young Ellison that romantic longing and belief that any kind of life is possible? How does music and dance affect his life? Who are his heroes? Why?

Essay Topic 3

Ellison poetically describes a lost and lovely world in "The Golden Age, Time Past." Minton's Playhouse is an amalgamation of home, community, the South, and the noisy excitement of New York City. What influence does Henry Minton have upon the jazz musicians he nurtures? What is the atmosphere like? How is creativity nourished?

(see the answer keys)

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