Essay Topic 1
What is the significance of The Pillow Book? Why is it important to Japanese history? What is it's linguistic significance?
Essay Topic 2
What factual information is known about Sei Shonagon? When did she live? What was her position in life?
Essay Topic 3
How does The Pillow Book cross lines between being a work of non-fiction and a work of fiction? What elements of fiction does it contain?
Essay Topic 4
How did Shonagon feel about aesthetics? How do you know this? Discuss some sections in which Shonagon specifically talked about how things should look. What do these sections reveal about Shonagon?
Essay Topic 5
What is Shonagon's writing style? What kinds of words did she use? How did she express her opinions?
Essay Topic 6
Describe life in the women's apartments. What were the apartments like and why did Shonagon enjoy living there...
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