The Big Sea: An Autobiography 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. When Hughes wrote "The Big Sea," how many years had passed since he had worked on his survey?

2. To whom did Hughes give copies of his poetry after he won the poetry prize?

3. What did an elderly graduate of Lincoln who had read Hughes's survey say to Hughes at his graduation?

4. Who did Countee Cullen marry?

5. What was the name of the poem that won Hughes his first poetry prize?

Short Essay Questions

1. What did Florence do after the brawl at the Grand Duc? How did this affect the club and what did the owner finally do?

2. How did Hughes compare Bricktop Ada Smith and Florence? How were the two women different?

3. What benefit cabaret was hosted by the NAACP to which Hughes was invited? Who did he meet there? Who was singing at the club when he entered?

4. When an alum of the college met Hughes, how did he react to Hughes's survey concerning having black faculty at Lincoln?

5. While he was still in college, how did Hughes meet the woman who was to become his patron? What story did Hughes tell about their first meeting?

6. What other meeting did Dr. Locke arrange for Hughes before leaving town?

7. What was "Shuffle Along" and why was it important in the history of the Black Renaissance in Harlem of the 1920s? Who were some of the important blacks associated with music in the 1920s in Harlem.

8. Why did Hughes go to Washington D.C. after landing in New York?

9. How did Hughes describe the wedding of Countee Cullen? Why was the wedding the talk of Harlem for a time? How was Hughes involved?

10. How did Hughes conclude his story of the racial survey at Lincoln? What changes did he witness at the school and in how many years?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

There were two singers at the Grand Duc while Hughes worked there: Florence Embry Jones and Bricktop Ada Smith. Both were excellent jazz singers and two very different women. Compare the two singers, what they offered the Grand Duc, and how they affected Hughes while he worked there.

Essay Topic 2

When Hughes boarded the S.S. Malone, he brought a box with him on the ship. One night shortly after the ship embarked on its journey to Africa, Hughes dumped the contents of his box into the ocean. This was an important event in Hughes' life. What was in the box that was thrown overboard, and why did Hughes toss everything into the ocean? What did he hope to change in his life by this symbolic act?

Essay Topic 3

Hughes titled one of the chapters in his autobiography "Distinguished Visitor." This visitor brought with him the beginnings of major fame for Hughes. Discuss the visitor and what he had to offer Hughes. Who did he introduce Hughes to that influenced his career? Why was this visitor important throughout Hughes's career?

(see the answer keys)

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