Black Dog of Fate: A Memoir Short Essay - Answer Key

Peter Balakian
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1. How did Balakian's grandmother establish a strong bond with him through cooking?

Once a month, Balakian went to his grandmother's house, and together they baked traditional Armenian pastries and breads. They would discuss their shared love of baseball and listen to rock and roll during these sessions. This simple act of communing in the kitchen helped to provide Balakian with a strong sense of attachment to his grandmother, especially since she never spoke about her past.

2. Why was Balakian so unnerved by his grandmother's constant doting on him at family gatherings?

Balakian accepted his grandmother's doting because he felt a bond of affection he could not explain. However, the attention unnerved him, somewhat, because he thought perhaps he had done something wrong. At the time, he did not understand how important it was for his grandmother to see another generation after watching her people come close to annihilation. Seeing her grandson probably made her feel vulnerable in some ways.

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