The Silent Woman: Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes 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. In her biography of Sylvia Plath, Stevenson writes of Plath as a sober and confused perfectionist whose suicide as well as the inspiration for her art remain ___________.

2. What literary genre emphasizes the intimate, and sometimes unflattering, information about details of the poet's personal life, such as in poems about mental illness, sexuality, and despondence?

3. The Bell Jar is based in part on Plath's own life and, in particular, her suicide attempt in what year?

4. Sylvia Plath told A. Alvarez of two previous suicide attempts--one in which she took an overdose of pills and another when she _____________.

5. A. Alvarez claimed that Sylvia Plath did not intend __________.

Short Essay Questions

1. What was Sylvia Plath's response to her mother's criticism of her dark works?

2. What was the first official bad review of Bitter Fame? Who wrote it?

3. What portrait of Sylvia Plath did Anne Stevenson paint in her biography of Sylvia? Why did critics refute that image?

4. What happened between Linda Wagner-Martin and Ted and Olwyn Hughes?

5. What did Aurelia Plath have published regarding Sylvia after her death? Why?

6. What struggle did Ted face after the death of Sylvia Plath?

7. Which biography of Sylvia Plath did Malcolm find to be the best? What criticism did the book meet?

8. When were Ted and Sylvia separated? What did Sylvia reveal to Alvarez during that time?

9. What two friends of Sylvia perpetuated the negative image of Ted Hughes? How?

10. Where did Olwyn and Malcolm go together in Part One: Chapter VII? What did Malcolm learn there?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Describe Sylvia Plath's relationship with Richard Sassoon. When did they meet? How long did they have a relationship? What ended it?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the role that literary criticism plays in the publication of books. What impact do critics have on book sales and the public opinion of works?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the coming-of-age period during the 1950s of Sylvia Plath. How did the public and critics respond to Plath's poetry? What impact did she have on women during the period in which the feminist movement began?

(see the answer keys)

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