Dictee Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
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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 type of illustrations appear in the "Urania: Astronomy"?

2. How many years has Mother spent in exile?

3. In the Opening, which of the following does the anonymous woman take possession of?

4. In the "Urania: Astronomy" section, what is the purpose of exhalation?

5. What is the major struggle in the Opening?

Short Essay Questions

1. Although the text is written in English, many of the forms and structures Cha uses do not adhere to standards of American English. Some of the translation passages, in particular, seem to have a structure that evinces first-language influence. Do you think the translation passages were originally written in English? Why or why not?

2. In "Urania: Astronomy," why does the poetry appear in side-by-side translation?

3. In "Calliope: Epic Poetry," how does the narrator attempt to communicate with her mother?

4. Discuss the significance of the title which first appears in the "Opening." What does "dictee" mean? How does it fit the work?

5. What is Mother's MAH-UHM? Where is it trapped?

6. Describe the process Mother undergoes to become an American citizen.

7. What is Melpomene's purpose at the end of "Melpomene: Tragedy"?

8. Why does Cha include the letter from the Koreans living in Hawaii to the President of the United States?

9. Discuss the significance of the image at the end of "Clio: History."

10. Describe the medical procedure in "Urania: Astronomy."

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Suffering is a significant motif throughout the work, emerging in forms as varied as personal struggles with self-expression to saintly martyrdom. In this work, suffering receives a complex and nuanced treatment. Analyze how the role suffering, in its various forms, is used in the work. Is suffering viewed as an unfortunate part of the human condition? Is there anything productive about the suffering in Cha's work? How are we to interpret Cha's decision to emphasize so many different types of suffering? What does this motif add to the work as a whole?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss Cha's stylistic choices throughout the work, focusing particularly on the author's use of language. How does she integrate simile, metaphor, and other literary devices into her prose and poetry? How do these techniques relate to the message of the work as a whole? Support your argument with evidence from the text.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the narrative voice in the book. Who is speaking throughout each section? How do these voices work to form a singular text? Do they present a coherent message or do they contradict one another? How does Cha's manipulation of narrative voice contribute to a work, which unites several women across various generations and cultures?

(see the answer keys)

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