Composing a Life Test | Final 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. To what does Mary compare the "syncopated rhythms" of caretaking?

2. In what country was Erik, Joan's husband, born?

3. Which of the following is NOT a building Mary claims can be "a joint composition"?

4. How many faculty members worked below Mary at the college where she once worked?

5. Why didn't Mary ever step up as president at the college where she once worked?

Short Essay Questions

1. How did Mary's views about discontinuity change as she completed this book?

2. What does Mary mean when she says that all five of the women in the book are "conservers"?

3. In what way does "The Ode of Imru'u I-Qays" support Mary's arguments about multiple lives?

4. How do the multiple roles women fill in their daily life affect their self-identity?

5. How does Johnnetta feel about the need to divide her time between her private and personal lives?

6. In what ways is leading multiple lives similar to having "heightened wisdom"?

7. What two metaphors does Mary use to describe her emotions in dealing with the Amherst presidency?

8. What was Mary Bateson's father's thesis in his writings about ecology?

9. In what way does Mary compare caretaking to music?

10. What has changed about caretaking in recent years, according to Mary's research on society?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In the opening of the text, author Mary Catherin Bateson discusses the ways the role of women in the household has changed in today's modern times. First, describe the traditional role of women. Then, compare and contrast that role to the role Bateson describes as the role of the "modern" woman. Finally, choose one woman whose life is explored in the text and describe how that woman's life emulates Bateson's modern woman. Do you think this woman is happy in her improvisational life? Why or why not? Be sure to include examples from the text to help strengthen your arguments.

Essay Topic 2

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.

Essay Topic 3

Throughout the novel, Bateson struggles to balance her definitions of marriage and partnership, particularly in relation to societal definitions of the same relationships. First, describe Bateson's definition of a perfect marriage. How does this marriage compare/contrast to Bateson's definition of a perfect partnership? In your opinion, is it possible to have both a perfect marriage and perfect partnership by Bateman's definitions? Why or why not? Finally, compare/contrast Bateman's definition of marriage with society's definition of marriage. In your opinion, will these two definitions ever merge? Why or why not? Be sure to include examples from the text to help strengthen your arguments.

(see the answer keys)

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