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 woman did Mary have a particularly difficult time connecting with during her interviews?

2. Which of the following does Mary believe everyone in a relationship should strive for?

3. Which of the following is NOT a way Mary lists as a reason for asymmetry in a relationship?

4. What article of clothing did Johnnetta receive as a joke from not one but two friends after earning her position as president of Spelman College?

5. What was significant about Johnnetta's position as president of Spelman College?

Short Essay Questions

1. According to Bateson, how do today's values for a "good life" differ from traditional values?

2. According to Bateson, what role do successful parents play in ensuring, or deterring, the success of their daughters?

3. What happened to Alice after Jack died unexpectedly?

4. In what ways does Bateson claim she puts her husband's needs before her own?

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

6. How do Joan and Erik collaborate on each other's professional projects?

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

8. How did Johnnetta's experiences in Cuba change her opinion of race and society?

9. According to Bateson, what are the benefits of cooking without a recipe?

10. What does Bateson believe is the next big step for humanity across the world?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

In many ways, composing an identity is much like composing a life. Fist, describe the way most individuals compose their own identity. Do people generally have one or many identities? Choose one woman from the book and list the characteristics of her identity or identities. In what ways is does this formation of identity inform the title of the book? In what way is composed identity similar to a composed life? Be sure to include examples from the text to help strengthen your arguments.

Essay Topic 3

In the final chapter of the book, Mary discusses global humanity. First, describe Mary's views on global humanity and explain how this expansive topic fits into her theme of composing a life. How does the idea of global humanity relate back to the interviews with the five women and their journey toward "synergy"? Finally, explain what message the reader walks away from this book with, particularly in relation to the themes of the final chapter. Be sure to include examples from the text to help strengthen your arguments.

(see the answer keys)

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