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. In "Melpomene: Tragedy," what evidence of conflicts past does the narrator see?

2. Who does the anonymous narrator invoke to tell the story, in the Opening?

3. What does the narrator do during confession?

4. How is the first English paragraph in the Opening punctuated?

5. Which of the following images does the narrator use to describe the bombs as her mother described them to her?

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

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

4. Discuss the significance of Mary in the "Opening." When does she appear? How is she important?

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

7. Why is Yu Guan Soon's birth dated on the lunar calendar while her death is dated on the Julian calendar?

8. How do Demeter and Sibyl appear as figures in "Melpomene: Tragedy"?

9. According to the narrator of "Clio: History," why has everything been lost to the Japanese?

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

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

Religion is a theme that pervades the work in several forms. How does Cha's narrator treat religion? What does Cha have to say about the uses (or perhaps abuses) of religion in Korean and Korean-American culture? Consider the nun's relationship to the Church, as well as the religious rituals and lessons, which appear throughout the work in forming your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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