A Personal Matter 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. Where does Bird work?

2. What request does Bird's colleague make of him?

3. Of what is Bird convinced as he walks through the hospital?

4. The doctor thinks the baby and the parents __________________________.

5. Bird encounters a man whose baby has no ________________.

Short Essay Questions

1. What does the glass-eyed doctor tell Bird they will know more about the baby's condition?

2. What seems to exaggerate Bird's feelings of inadequacy at the arcade?

3. At what stage is Bird in his journey of personal transformation at this point?

4. Who are the people who Bird encounters when he gets to the maternity hospital?

5. What does Bird's father-in-law give to Bird during the visit and why is this an unlikely offering given Bird's troubles with addiction?

6. How is Bird's encounter with the gang a boost to his flailing ego?

7. What is the significance of the two men who come to Himiko's home?

8. What is ironic about Bird's using sex to avoid responsibility?

9. Who is Delchef and how is he introduced into the story?

10. What is Bird doing at the beginning of A PERSONAL MATTER? What is going on with Bird's wife and how does Bird think his life will soon change?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Abandonment seems to be almost an unnamed character in the book. How pervasive is the sense of abandonment? Why does it have such a prevalent place in the lives of the characters? Explain how an inanimate object or characteristic can be a character.

Essay Topic 2

Project into the future ten years after the end of the novel and write a brief synopsis for Bird's life. What is his relationship with his son? What is his relationship with his wife? Have his dreams of going to Africa been completely squelched? What is Bird's state of mind? How does Bird feel about himself now?

Essay Topic 3

Describe the role of the family in A PERSONAL MATTER. What does it mean for each of the main characters? How does the family evolve in its support of each other? How typical is this family to most Japanese families living during the 1960s?

(see the answer keys)

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