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 minstrel show black face?

2. Hemingway carries on Twain's technical discoveries in writing but loses what?

3. According to Ellison what does the term "the grays" mean?

4. Who is Richard Wright to Ellison?

5. How old is Crane when he wrote his masterpiece "The Red Badge of Courage?"

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. What is the common image of the Negro in contemporary literature according to Ellison?

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

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

10. Why was the young Ellison drawn to reading?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the four articles on musicians written for the Saturday Review, Ellison explores the development of each individual artist. What do Mahalia Jackson, Charlie Parker, Charlie Christian and Jimmy Rushing have in common? Why does Ellison choose both nationally famous and locally famous musicians to write about? How are the careers and styles of the four musicians different?

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

In the film review "The Shadow and the Act" Ellison criticizes Hollywood's portrayal of Negro Americans as "Shadow," by which he means illusion. The act refers to reality, what truly is, which Hollywood shows little interest in revealing. Describe Ellison's theory and show how he uses the example of film to reveal what is for him an overall American habit of focusing on illusion rather than reality.

(see the answer keys)

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