The Stochastic Aptitude Test

The Stochastic Aptitude Test

A parody of Gone With the Wind has run into legal trouble: too revealing of the real nature of slavery?


A federal district court recently blocked publication of Alice Randall's The Wind Done Gone, a parody of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, ruling that the parody constituted plagiarism.


Section One–Reading Comprehension


Read the following literary excerpts. Pick the one that is not parody. Write an essay about why its publication should be enjoined.


a. "Ah's sceered of cows, Miss Scarlett. Ah ain' nebber had nuthin' ter do wid cows. Ah ain' no yard nigger. Ah's a house nigger."
   "You're a fool nigger, and the worst day's work Pa ever did was to buy you," said Scarlett slowly, too tired for anger. "And if I ever get the use of my arm again I'll wear this whip out on you."
   There, she thought, I've said nigger, and Mother wouldn't like that.
      —Gone With the Wind



b. "Help me out of these wet things, Pansy," Scarlett ordered her maid. "Hurry." Her face was ghostly pale, it made her green eyes look darker, brighter, more frightening. The young black girl was clumsy with nervousness. "Hurry, I said. If you make me miss my train, I'll take a strap to you."
   She couldn't do it. Pansy knew she couldn't do it. The slavery days were over, Miss Scarlett didn't own her, she could quit any time she wanted to.
      —Scarlett: The Sequel, by Alexandra Ripley



c. [H]e took them over to where the house we called Twelve Slaves Strong as Trees once stood. I have forgotten their name for it. What I remember is this: there were twelve columns across the front of that slave-built house. They stood for the original twelve dark men who cleared the land. And the lines, the flutes, on those columns stood for the stripes on those slaves' backs.
      —The Wind Done Gone



Section Two–American History


Read the following passages and decide which best summarizes the facts of the Civil War.


a. "De Yankees is comin'!" bawled Prissy, shrinking close to her. "Oh, Miss Scarlett, dey'll kill us all! Dey'll run dey baynits in our stummicks! Dey'll–"
      —Gone With the Wind



b. It was the Confederate Memorial, symbol of the proud, heedless courage that had plunged the South with bright banners flying into destruction. It stood for so many lives lost, the friends of her childhood, the gallants who had begged for waltzes and kisses in the days when she had no problems greater than which wide-skirted ballgown to wear.
      —Scarlett: The Sequel



c. If it was mine to be able to paint pictures, if I possessed the gift of painting, I would paint a cotton gown balled up and thrown into a corner waiting to be washed, and I would call it "Georgia."
      —The Wind Done Gone



Section Three–Critical Reasoning


Which of the following descriptions best completes the following analogy: mother is to child as elephant is to _______.


a. Mammy emerged from the hall, a huge old woman with the small, shrewd eyes of an elephant. She was shining black, pure African, devoted to her last drop of blood to the O'Haras.
      —Gone With the Wind



b. Scarlett stared down at the skull-like face of the dying old woman. "I love you, Mammy," she whispered. "What's going to become of me when I don't have you to love me?"
      —Scarlett: The Sequel



c. They called her Mammy. Always…. I heard tell down the years they compared her to an elephant. They shouted down to their ancestors: She was big as an elephant with tiny dark round eyes. But she wasn't big enough to own a name.
      —The Wind Done Gone



Section Four–True or False


Mark the following true or false. Use a hard black pencil to fill in the entire area of the little white circle of your choice.


a. To focus the social passions of African-Americans on what some Americans may have done to their ancestors…years ago is to burden them with a crippling sense of victimhood.
      –Journalist David Horowitz, in an advertisement in Brown University's student newspaper



b. We've all got to stand up and speak in this respect or else we'll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda.
      –Attorney General John Ashcroft, quoted in Southern Partisan



c. I could see in Other's face the first moment it came to her the possibility that Mammy did for her not because she wanted to, but because she had to. Maybe Mammy loved her and maybe Mammy didn't. Slavery made it impossible for Other to know. "She who ain't free not to love, ain't free to love."
      —The Wind Done Gone



Section Five–Logical Thinking


Cross out the one that is not free speech.


a. a hit list of abortion doctors published on the Internet
      –Ninth Circuit opinion, March 2001



b. a regulation promulgated by New York City public schools chancellor Harold Levy prohibiting the opinionated teaching of race and politics
      —Peter Noel, The Village Voice, November 22-28, 2000



c. It's a pissed bed on a cold night to read words on paper saying your name and a price, to read the letters that say you are owned, or to read words that say this one or that one will pay so much money for you to be recaptured. It be better never to read than to read that page with your name on it.
      —The Wind Done Gone


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