The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present 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. Beyond the Monstrous Child, who else is discussed in "Of a Monstrous Child?"

2. Ou-Yank Hsiu is considered one of eight what?

3. What kind of social company does Sei Shonagon express hatred for in "Hateful Things?"

4. When did Plutarch die?

5. Why is Plutarch consoling his wife in "Consolation to His Wife?"

Short Essay Questions

1. What accounts for Maria Edgeworth's nontraditional views of male/female relationships? How are these views represented in "An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justification"?

2. What is the tone of Joseph Addison's "Nicolini and the Lions?" What details of the story account for this tone?

3. What is the subject of "Pleasure Boat Studio?"

4. What idea sparks Montaigne to write after his first book is a success?

5. To what extent were Charles Lamb's personal essays influenced by his family background? Describe that family background.

6. What is the subject of Richard Steele's "Twenty-four Hours in London"? What point does Steele make in the story?

7. How are the writings of Montaigne structured?

8. What is the biographical background necessary to understand "Consolation to His Wife" by Plutarch?

9. What philosophy of death does Plutarch advise in "Consolation to His Wife?"

10. What caused Michel de Montaigne to start writing?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

E. B. White in "Once More to the Lake" and Hubert Butler in "Beside the Nore" both talk about seaside experiences.

A) What is each man's view of nature, as revealed in the essays?

B) What is particular about being close to water that resonates with each author?

C) How does a sense of nostalgia pervade and affect each piece? How does "now" differ from "then?"

Essay Topic 2

Roland Barthes in "Leaving the Movie Theater" and Gayle Pemberton in "Do He Have Your Number, Mr. Jeffrey" both speak about personal experiences they have had with movies.

A) How is the movie experience different for each author? What does each author take away from their movie watching experience?

B) How might race impact the movie watching experience? Would Barthes' experience with movie watching be any different if he was confronted with actors on screen of a different race?

Essay Topic 3

Sei Shonagon in "Hateful Things" and William Hazlitt in "On the Pleasure of Hating" both talk about the nature of hatred.

A) Is hate a healthy emotion, according to either author? Compare their views on the healthiness of hate.

B) What types of things are hated by each author? Are there more useful things than others to hate? What types of things might be too insignificant to hate?

(see the answer keys)

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