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. What item, stolen from her family by the Turks, did Balakian's grandmother find in the home of a family in Aleppo?

2. When did the deportations of Armenians into the Syrian desert begin?

3. In what year did a devastating earthquake hit Armenia?

4. To what Lebanese city was the Holy See of Cilicia relocated after the Armenian genocide?

5. According to a 1996 article in the New York Times, what did Turkey lead all other nations in?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Why did Balakian question his failure to ask questions as a child when he saw the names of the dead listed on his grandmother's compensation documents?

4. How did Balakian feel about claims that the Turkish denials fall under free speech?

5. According to Aunt Gladys, why did the Armenians in America never talk about the genocide?

6. How does numbness help people who have endured great horrors?

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

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

9. How did American Ambassador Morgenthau attempt to help the Armenians?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Balakian wrote frequently about the central role food played in his extended family. What importance does food have in Armenian culture? How did the experience of starvation during the genocide impact Armenian immigrants to the U.S.? Would food still have had the same importance if the Armenians had not experienced starvation? How do immigrant families transmit their culture to their children through food? How do they express their love at the dinner table?

Essay Topic 2

Balakian's grandfather Diran was a physician who served during the genocide and was required at times to treat Turkish soldiers. He did so knowing that many of these soldiers were likely to return to the front to kill more Armenians. Write an essay exploring how he was able to deal with this situation. Did knowing what these men were doing impact his ability to follow the Hippocratic Oath? Why did he treat the Turkish soldiers?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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