Shadow and Act Test | Final 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 significance of printing Negro with a capital N?

2. When does Jones place the beginnings of the blues?

3. What is the original title of the film "The Birth of a Nation?"

4. What street is Minton's on?

5. How did Mrs. Jackson's nephew William die?

Short Essay Questions

1. What experience in Ellison's childhood gives him patience with his upstairs singing neighbor?

2. Who is LeRoi Jones?

3. In the Paris Review (Spring 1955) Ellison was interviewed about his work as a writer. What does he say his first piece of professional writing was?

4. Who is Teddy Hill?

5. Who is Mahalia Jackson?

6. What does the "drunk of legend" who lives on the corner do?

7. Who does the song "They picked poor robin clean" remind Ellison of?

8. Why does Ellison disagree with Jones when he says "A slave cannot be a man"?

9. What type of music does the upstairs singer practice all day?

10. Where is the Lefargue Psychiatric Clinic located?

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

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

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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