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. Under the new Japanese assembly, how did the King govern?

2. What did Japan do as it assumed control over Korea?

3. What format does the conversation in the confessional take?

4. What does Mother do with her wages?

5. In "Urania: Astronomy," what does the nurse wrap around the patient's arm?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. In "Urania: Astronomy," how do pages and punctuation relate to the focus on breath?

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

4. Explain the letter to Mother in "Melpomene: Tragedy."

5. Why does Cha include images of the circulatory system, the nervous system, and the respiratory system in in "Urania: Astronomy," a section dedicated to astronomy?

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

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

8. Describe Mother's ideas about what people do just before death.

9. Describe the way Cha treats soldiers in "Melpomene: Tragedy."

10. Describe the circumstances of the narrator's brother's death.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Displacement, as it relates to exile and immigrant identity, is a recurring theme throughout this work. Think, for example, about Cha's mother's spirit trapped in Korea or about the narrator's experience in returning to Korea eighteen years after the conflict. How does a sense of displacement inform the identities of the people in the work? Are they marked by it? Are their lives made empty by a sense of yearning? Or do they perceive displacement differently? How?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

In addition to the motif of suffering, the work exhibits a recurrent theme of transcendence as well. Cha's mother overcomes her exile status and poor health in Manchuria, saintly and Christ-like figures transcend worldly suffering, and the narrator transcends the painful distances between herself and the other women who compose her identity. How does Cha treat transcendence in this work? Is it a happily-ever-after, feel-good ending to a painful experience? Or perhaps it is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit? Is there a religious or spiritual component to her message? Using support from the text, discuss Cha's message regarding transcendence of suffering.

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