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. What college did Mary once teach at?

2. Which woman said, "Somebody's got to be the mommy"?

3. Which woman struggles with sibling rivalry, and dividing her attention among her children?

4. Which word completes the following sentence: "All of the women in the book have repeatedly salvaged the capacity for ______________ in an imperfect system"?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Mary hope to write about in her next book?

2. Why did Jon need a blood transfusion when he was young?

3. Why didn't Mary ever become president of Amherst University?

4. Historically, what members of society usually take the role of caretakers?

5. What prompted Mary's identity crisis after high school?

6. In what way does Ellen's home define her life?

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

8. In what ways does Johnnetta's home define her life?

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

10. What is Mary's definition of wisdom?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 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

Throughout Mary's life, and particularly during her time at Amherst, Mary was subjected to the ugliness in the world, and in people. First, describe why Mary would consider her time at Amherst to be negative. What lessons did Mary learn about herself and society during that time? Then, describe the advice Mary gives to readers who also fear the loss of innocence and disillusionment in the world. Be sure to include examples from the text to strengthen your arguments.

(see the answer keys)

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