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 Balakian's father known Dr. Reynadi?

2. What is involved in the torture method called bastinado?

3. In what city did Balakian's co-worker Jimmy grow up?

4. What happened when 2,000 starving Armenian women and children stumbled through Aleppo, Syria in 1915?

5. In what part of Syria is Der Zor located?

Short Essay Questions

1. How did Balakian's aunts justify the family's inability to talk about the genocide when he was a child?

2. How does genocide denial affect the survivors and their descendants?

3. Why is Der Zor considered the Armenian equivalent of Auschwitz?

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

5. How did the Turks use the geography of the land to make it easier to kill Armenians?

6. What was significant about the murder of 250 Armenian intellectuals on the eve of the genocide and what was significant about Bishop Balakian's survival?

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

8. How did the atmosphere of Syria differ from that of Lebanon when Balakian visited in 2005?

9. Why did Balakian take the bones from the memorial site at Der Zor?

10. How has the Turkish government used its influence to prevent honest discussion of the Armenian genocide over the years?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

At least some of Balakian's relatives would appear to have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their sufferings. Nafina, in particular, seemed to suffer as evidenced by her breakdown when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. How did her suppression of her memories affect her over the long term? Had she been more open about the genocide, would she have been spared the breakdown in 1941? Why did she continue to suppress the memories after recovering from the breakdown? Can this suppression ever be healthy or does it inevitably lead to PTSD? Would the survivors of the Armenian genocide have had a different post-war experience if the genocide had occurred after PTSD became a well-known malady?

Essay Topic 2

To this day, the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge the deaths of Armenians as genocide. Why would the government continue to deny atrocities committed long before current Turks were even alive? How does the denial of past crimes affect the development of a nation? Can Turkey ever be considered a part of the community of modern, humane nations as long as it continues to deny the genocide? What would a confession mean to the Turkish people today? How important is critical self-evaluation to the development of a nation?

Essay Topic 3

Balakian did not learn about the Armenian genocide or his own family's experiences until he sought out that information as an adult. Even then, some family members questioned what he was doing. Did his family do him a disservice by hiding the truth from him for so many years? Would knowing the past have enabled him to have a different, deeper understanding of the ways his family members lived their lives in America? Or did keeping the truth from him enable him to have a normal American childhood before delving into the past on his own? Did his family's "protection" of him give him a solid ground on which to stand while confronting the horrific events of the past?

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