Black Dog of Fate: A Memoir Test | Final Test - Hard

Peter Balakian
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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. How long had Syria occupied Lebanon when Balakian visited?

2. What city managed to protect itself from Turkish invaders in the 17th century, thereby stopping the expansion of Ottoman power throughout Western Europe?

3. What movie was showing on the airplane when Balakian returned to the United States?

4. In what year was the Treaty of Lausanne signed?

5. What did Balakian say best represented his family's assimilation in American society?

Short Essay Questions

1. How has Turkey's denial of the genocide affected its development as a modern nation?

2. What was the deeper significance of the 500 pairs of shoes stolen by the Turks from Balakian's grandfather?

3. What did Dovey mean when she said that Turkish culture was theft?

4. Why was Balakian so affected by his visit to Aleppo, Syria?

5. Why did the Armenians form reform movements under Ottoman rule during the 1890s?

6. Why did Aunt Anna likely embrace surrealism rather than realism in literature?

7. Why did Balakian eventually come to see his family's silence about the genocide as a gift?

8. Why were the orders for deportation of all Armenians into the Syrian desert the equivalent of a death sentence?

9. How was the Armenian-Lebanese town of Anjar settled?

10. How did writing the poem, "The History of Armenia," help Balakian process his new knowledge of his people's history?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Armenians in the United States--including Balakian's family--generally attempted to assimilate into American culture. How did this assimilation impact their ability to thrive after the genocide? Did assimilation mean an abandonment of Armenian culture? Or did they maintain traditions that could no longer be maintained in their wiped out homeland? Did assimilation make it easier for the survivors and their descendants to deal with the fact of genocide?

Essay Topic 2

When the Balakian family lived in Teaneck, New Jersey, Peter felt a special kinship with the Jews. Why did he feel this connection? Was it simply a matter of being exposed to a tight-knit community or was there something deeper that Peter could not have articulated? Why did he feel left out when his own family had traditions? If he had known at the time about the Armenian genocide, would the connection have been deeper?

Essay Topic 3

Balakian's aunts were deeply critical of American suburban life, believing that it lacked culture and refinement. Write a compare and contrast essay looking at both the attitudes of the family members toward the suburbs versus the city and the realities they encountered in their separate worlds. Include ways in which the cities and suburbs were similar as well as ways in which they were markedly different. Compare the cultural offerings as well as the sense of community in the two areas.

(see the answer keys)

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