The Pillow Book of Sei Sh¯onagon, Translated [from the Japanese] and Edited by Ivan Morris Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

Sei Shōnagon
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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. What did His Majesty ask Shonagon and the others to write down on a folded piece of paper following dinner?
(a) Their names.
(b) A passage from a book of philosophy.
(c) The first ancient poem that came to mind.
(d) Their lineage.

2. What kind of carriage was supposed to move slowly according to Shonagon?
(a) Palm-leaf.
(b) Wickerwork.
(c) Wooden.
(d) Horse drawn.

3. What did common people often add to their speech?
(a) An accent.
(b) Submissive words.
(c) Expletives.
(d) Extra syllables.

4. What insect did Shonagon say she should have included in her list of hateful things?
(a) Fly.
(b) Beetle.
(c) Moth.
(d) Mosquito.

5. What was the driver of an ox-carriage supposed to look like according to Shonagon?
(a) Short.
(b) Big.
(c) Simple.
(d) Thin.

Short Answer Questions

1. What did Shonagon say a well-bred young man should never do when visiting a woman of lower rank?

2. What color were the horses that members of the nobility came to see on the first day of the First Month?

3. What did one of the women ask the old nun to do, which the Empress found degrading?

4. Who was the nurse in charge of the palace cat?

5. What was wrong with the appearance of the escorts that Shonagon saw while visiting the palace to see the horses on the first day of the First Month?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why did Tsunefusa begin calling Shonagon Grass Hut?

2. Why did the Emperor walk toward the Empress' building while playing his flute?

3. Why did the Empress scold Shonagon when she complained that people would see the women looking shabby as they entered the house because the gate was too small?

4. In "It Is Hateful When a Well-Bred Young Man," why did Shonagan think it was proper for a gentleman to bring along a man when he went to visit a lady-in-waiting?

5. Why did Shonagon and the other women often have to stay away from the Palace?

6. Why were Shonagon and the other women disgusted by the response of some of the servants who were carrying attractively wrapped bundles and bags when the women asked them who the packages belonged to?

7. What was the reason given for the way the snap-beetle bowed while crawling?

8. Why did the Empress give the old nun, whom the women later dubbed Hitachi no Suke, one of her own robes?

9. Why didn't the women write their hototogisu poems after going on an outing to hear them sing?

10. Why did the women hit one another with gruel sticks?

(see the answer keys)

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