Composing a Life Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Mary Catherine Bateson
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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. Which of the following best describes the way the women in the text will "compose their lives"?

2. What type of poetry was Mary studying when she first met her husband, Barkev?

3. How many different ways does Johnnetta believe there are to "be black", particularly if one is a black woman?

4. In what decade did the consciousness of women begin to be raised about inequality?

5. What does Bateson claim is the next step to improving societal relations?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does it mean for one to compose their life as an "emergent vision"?

2. According to Bateson, what do humans tend to believe about society?

3. What struggles did Ellen note in the way ERs in Boston organized their time schedules?

4. What two significant events happened when "The Cosby Show" came to film at Spelman University where Johnnetta works?

5. What did Mary learn about society while visiting her mother's work with her?

6. What is significant about Johnnetta's physical appearance?

7. What does it mean to Mary to live in "a life in flux", and how did this affect her choosing of which women would appear in the book?

8. What is the nature of Jack's relationship with Alice?

9. What was Erik's theory of the life cycle while he was studying under Freud in the West Coast?

10. What type of family did Mary Catherine Bateson grow up in?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the opening chapter of the text, author Mary Catherine Bateson uses various metaphors and similes to express the ways women in today's modern society have been living improvisationally, and how this lifestyle affects society as a whole. Choose two of the metaphors you believe are most poignant in describing an improvisational life and describe how Bateson weaves these metaphors throughout the text. Then, argue why you believe these metaphors accurately depict the life of a modern woman. Be sure to include examples from the text to help strengthen your arguments.

Essay Topic 2

At the end of the book, Mary has almost completely changed her attitude about caregiving and women in the primary role as caregivers. First, describe Mary's attitude about these topics at the opening of the book and compare/contrast that to her attitude at the end of the book. Then, citing specific examples from the text, trace Mary's change in attitude and consciousness based on the knowledge she gained from her interviews with the five women.

Essay Topic 3

In what ways is wisdom gained through life? Mary has very specific ideas about how one becomes "wise". Explain those ideas in a brief essay using one of the women in the book as an example. What path did this woman take in her pursuit of wisdom? What different types of wisdom did she gain? Do you think all her efforts were consciously in the pursuit of wisdom? How can you tell? Be sure to include examples from the text to help strengthen your arguments.

(see the answer keys)

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