Silk Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Alessandro Baricco
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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. How far does Joncour travel for eggs on his first trip outside of Europe?

2. To whom did Baldabiou dedicate the building next to the silk factory?

3. How many silk eggs can a person hold in their hand?

4. What does the piano player say after the end of each song?

5. What does the mistress do before she leaves Joncour with his present?

Short Essay Questions

1. How much of the year does Joncour work? How much time does he have for leisure? Describe his work routine.

2. Describe how silk eggs hatch and what happens to them.

3. Why does the young girl accompanying Hara Kei not have an Asian slant to her eyes? Does this give the reader a clue to her past? What?

4. When Hara Kei asks Joncour who he is, what does he tell him? Why does he give so much detail? Is it necessary to tell the whole truth? Why does Joncour do this?

5. What happened when Jean Berbeck decided not to speak anymore? Why is this significant information in getting to know the character of Joncour?

6. Describe the party at Hara Kei's house. Who is there? Are these important people? Why? Why not?

7. After his travels to Africa, how does Joncour describe his trip when someone asks? Why does he not give a better description?

8. When Joncour meets the Englishman in Japan who is selling guns, he asks about the girl. What is the Englishman's reply? Do you think the Englishman has seen the girl? Do you think he knows more than he is saying? What?

9. What animal does Baldabiou ask about upon Joncour's return from his first trip abroad? What does he do later to pay tribute to these animals? What are these animals a symbol for?

10. It is against the law to sell silk eggs in Japan. Why is it reasonable in the eyes of the silk manufacturers to break a law in Japan? Are they concerned for the welfare of Joncour? Why? Why not?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Why does the author use the historical character of Louis Pasteur? What does this add to the novel? What about other historical notations? Does this help or hurt the novel in your opinion?

Essay Topic 2

What is the significance of St. Agnes to Baldabiou? Why do Joncour and his wife name their youngest daughter Agnes? Why is Baldabiou fascinated with dolphins? Why would he want to put dolphins in the cloister instead of animals with Christian references?

Essay Topic 3

Why do you think Helene runs after Baldabiou at the train station? What do you think their relationship was? Why do you think that? What else happens that indicates that they have a close relationship? Do you think Helene experienced the same thing as her husband in the months he was away from her? Why do you think that?

(see the answer keys)

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