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. What three ways do Negroes in Wright's childhood survive?

3. What distresses Ellison most about the essay "Black Boys and Native Sons?"

4. Why does Ellison choose to analyze Ernest Hemingway?

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

Short Essay Questions

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

2. Why was the young Ellison drawn to reading?

3. As a child Ellison imagined himself as a "Renaissance man." What does that mean?

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

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

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

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

8. Did Richard Wright influence Baldwin or Ellison?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Race relations in America have long been a central focus of our culture. In the introduction Ellison prepares the reader to enter this discussion with him. What kind of invitation does he present? What is the emotional tone and feeling of the introduction? What does Ellison reveal about his own perspective on race? Why is it one of the themes of this book of his writing?

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

"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?

(see the answer keys)

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