An Artist of the Floating World Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. How does Ono acquire his house for less than half its value?

The Sugimura sisters held a prestige auction to ensure that the house went to someone whom their father would have approved and believed worthy of it. They had determined upon a very low price and would not consider changing it or taking higher bids. Ono was one of four candidates and was chosen as the most worthy.

2. After the surrender, one of the Sugimura sisters visits the house, obviously more concerned about the building than its inhabitants. Why doesn't Ono feel angry toward her?

Ono sees that the last surviving Sugimura sister is emotionally attached to the house and he learns that all of her family has died. He begins to pity her, feeling empathy for her situation.

3. What is surprising about Noriko's comments to Setsuko about Ono?

Noriko's comments about their father are obviously upsetting to Setsuko, who tries several times to change the subject. Disrespect toward Ono seems surprising in a society where courtesies are so strictly observed.

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