Dreams of Joy: A Novel Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Lisa See
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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. Who explains to Pearl that China has a large export business?

2. Why does Kumei think Joy and Tao are a perfect match?

3. Who is clearly talented when Z.G. begins his art class?

4. Who is Auntie Hu?

5. Of whom is Joy slightly afraid?

Short Essay Questions

1. What organization does Joy join in college and why does she end up in China?

2. What does Pearl find when she goes to her childhood home?

3. Of what do Pearl's housemates accuse her, and who seems to be supportive of her?

4. What is the Great Leap Forward and what does China hope to accomplish with it?

5. What happens when Joy calls her boyfriend Joe when she is wandering through Chinatown?

6. What does Pearl think about as she goes after Joy?

7. What information does Pearl learn right after entering China that relieves her mind?

8. What does the Prologue recount?

9. How is the commune set up for The Great Leap Forward?

10. What do Z. G. and Joy begin doing immediately at the commune, and why is the work so grueling?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Joy hears that Ping-Li had begged for a divorce from her abusive husband but was continually told to work for the greater good of China by being a better wife. Desperate, she committed suicide by throwing herself in front of the hay cutter. It is interesting to note that the villagers commented on how red her blood was, a sign of a good communist. There were not repercussions for Ping-Li's husband and dissent began to take over the women in the commune who claimed their rights weren't being respected. A few days later, the villagers were banned from speaking about Ping-Li's death.

1. Do you think Ping-Li was abused because she was not a good wife? Why or why not? Use examples from the text to support your answer.

2. Discuss the symbolism to the Chinese workers of the red blood and what kind of propaganda could make people discuss a woman who has just killed herself in such a manner. Use examples from the text to support your answer.

3. Discuss the reasons you believe the government banned the people of the commune from talking about Ping-Li. Use examples from the text to support your answer.

Essay Topic 2

Discuss one of the following:

1. Trace and analyze the theme of growth in "Dreams of Joy". Consider the following questions as you write: What characters are most concerned with growth? Why? What are some symbols of growth? Symbols of rigidity? What characters seem rigid?

2. Trace and analyze the theme of courage in "Dreams of Joy". Which characters struggle with this issue? Why? Which characters seem to possess courage? Why?

3. Trace and analyze the theme of death in "Dreams of Joy". Consider the death of Mike as an random act of nature and the death of Luis as the result of conscious violence. Consider also in your answer the death of innocence in Rick from the beginning of the book to the end.

Essay Topic 3

The government clearly has no idea how to properly plant and maintain field harvests, and they have the peasants so full of fear of be labeled counter-revolutionary that they won't speak up when they hear the terrifying field plans for The Great Leap Forward. Had anyone tried to convince the brigade leader that planting wheat in a cornfield wouldn't work, he would not have listened to their argument anyway. The brigade leader grew up in the city his entire life, is illiterate, but managed to secure a high-ranking position in the new government.

1. Explain the process you think would have to happen to beat people down so far that they would plant a food crop that would not grow. Use examples from the text to support your answer.

2. What do you think are the possible problems that might arise from having a city person run a farm. Use examples from the text to support your answer.

3. What do you see are the problems that are caused by having citizens in a country so fearful to speak out over a plan that is obvious to them will starve the population that they plant the wheat without saying a word to the commune leader. Use examples from the text to support your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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