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 Ginsberg poem did Balakian's mother want several copies of?
(a) Please Master.
(b) Hum Bomb.
(c) Kaddish.
(d) Howl.

2. What Biblical figure were the Jewish boys arguing about during the baseball game in "An Armenian Jew in Suburbia"?
(a) Joshua's wife.
(b) Moses' wife.
(c) Abraham's wife.
(d) Noah's wife.

3. In grandmother's dream about her friend Nevart (described in "The Woman in Blue"), what was Nevart drinking?
(a) Whiskey.
(b) Rosewater.
(c) Beer.
(d) Tahn.

4. What was the nickname of Arkayutiun, the soup Balakian ate while sick?
(a) Soup of the Soul.
(b) Soup of Heaven.
(c) Soup of Life.
(d) Soup of Love.

5. What was the lowest mark Balakian's female relatives gave to the houses they viewed during their Sunday drives?
(a) Ugly.
(b) F.
(c) Next.
(d) Hum hum.

Short Answer Questions

1. In what year did the author's family move to Tenafly, New Jersey?

2. In what year did Roman Emperor Constantine turn Byzantium into the imperial residence?

3. What stock did grandmother recommend buying after she had a dream?

4. What college did Balakian's father say was "better than its name"?

5. What instrument did Balakian's cousin Haigie play?

Short Essay Questions

1. In what ways did life at Auntie Anna's and Uncle Steve's house differ from life in the Balakian household?

2. How did Balakian's memorial poem for his grandmother reflect his Armenian past?

3. How did Balakian's family's obsession with style reflect their history?

4. How did Balakian's family's attachment to food reflect their ancestors' history?

5. How did Balakian's mother's behavior at the restaurant in France reflect her cultured upbringing?

6. How did Balakian's school term paper on Turkey mark a turning point in his relationship with his father?

7. 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?

8. Why was Balakian's Aunt Anna so opposed to American suburbia?

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

10. What was Balakian's reaction to the folktales his grandmother would frequently tell him?

(see the answer keys)

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