Black Dog of Fate: A Memoir Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

Peter Balakian
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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What food did Balakian's mother bring when she visited during the talk by Allen Ginsberg?
(a) Stuffed grape leaves.
(b) Baklava.
(c) Kebabs.
(d) Lasagne.

2. Approximately how many Armenians were slaughtered in Diarbekir in 1915?
(a) 200,000.
(b) 75,000.
(c) 100,000.
(d) 150,000.

3. What is lokma?
(a) Kebab.
(b) Doughnut.
(c) Fried dough.
(d) Lamb.

4. In what year was the Armenian empire at its height?
(a) 100 BCE.
(b) 50 BCE.
(c) 50 CE.
(d) 25 BCE.

5. For what did Balakian win a trophy at the end of his first year at the private high school?
(a) Most likely to succeed.
(b) Freshman athlete of the year.
(c) Most popular freshman.
(d) English student of the year.

Short Answer Questions

1. What was the name of the poetry journal Balakian founded in 1976?

2. How many children were in the Wall family?

3. What team was Columbia playing when the fan had a heart attack?

4. Whose biography was Peter's grandmother reading when he came down late at night to get a bite to eat?

5. What meat did the Balakian family frequently eat for dinner?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why did Balakian's father send him the newspaper clipping about the Armenian Soviet republic and how did Peter react?

2. What impression did the writer, William Saroyan, make on Balakian during the party at his aunt's apartment?

3. When the Balakian family was preparing to move to another town, what was the deeper significance of Balakian's mother's insistence that her son not get too attached to any one place?

4. How did sports help heal the rift between Balakian and his father?

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

6. What did the phrase "the old country" mean to Balakian as a child?

7. Describe the impact poetry had on Balakian during high school and how it connected to his family's silence about the genocide.

8. Why did Balakian's grandmother tell him a story from the genocide while he was delirious with fever?

9. Why did Balakian react so strongly to Allen Ginsberg's reading of his poem "Kaddish"?

10. What was Balakian's reaction to the film, The Graduate?

(see the answer keys)

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