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. Which of the following statements does NOT fit into Mary's definition of wisdom?

2. Which of the following films does Mary use to demonstrate her theories about traditional gender roles?

3. Which woman would Mary most likely call "superwoman"?

4. What is the key to organizing multiple lives at once?

5. Who does Mary claim creates the most amount of work for a woman in the household?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

5. How does Mary feel about skepticism?

6. What type of food did Mary cook for Barkev when they were first married?

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

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

9. What is Mary's definition of wisdom?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In chapter seven, Mary Bateson makes the statement that Americans are more comfortable giving things away completely than sharing. What do you think Bateson means by this saying? Do you agree with her? Why or why not? Finally, explain how you think this statement relates to the five women presented in the novel. Does this statement summarize any one woman or relationship in the text? If so, how? Be sure to include examples from the text to help strengthen your arguments.

Essay Topic 2

Homelessness is a huge theme in the book, both literally and metaphorically. First, describe the state of homelessness in Boston at the time of the book's creation. What did Mary learn about herself and her society as care givers based on her research into homelessness? Then, explain how the theme of homelessness is used as a metaphor in the book to discuss a woman's role, both in her family and her community. Be sure to include examples from the text to help strengthen your arguments.

Essay Topic 3

Mary uses the poem "The Ode of Imru'u I-Qays" to describe an important point about the lives of modern women. First, summarize the story of "The Ode of Imru-u I-Qays" and explain why Mary chose this poem as her example. Then, argue whether or not this example is still relevant in today's society. In what ways does this poem support and negate from Mary's main theme of "composing a life"? Be sure to include examples from the text to help strengthen your arguments.

(see the answer keys)

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