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

Sei Shōnagon
This set of Lesson Plans consists of approximately 131 pages of tests, essay questions, lessons, and other teaching materials.
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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. What title was Norimitsu awarded after his falling out with Shonagon?

2. Who asked Narimasa to arrange a meeting with Shonagon about the small gate?

3. What does the name of the kotonashi shrub mean?

4. What instrument did His Majesty play?

5. What did Lord Akinobu say he had picked with his own hands?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why was it depressing for someone to wear a white under-robe in the Eighth Month?

2. What made Shonagon come into the Empress's apartments after she left because the screens with the paintings of Hell frightened her?

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

4. 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?

5. Why was it considered such a bad thing for Masahiro to leave his shoes on the serving-board?

6. Why didn't Shonagon like the husbands of nurse-maids?

7. 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?

8. How did Shonagon describe the life of a priest?

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

10. In "Smaller Shirakawa," why did Shonagon and her companions leave the morning service early?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Analyze at least three of the poems written by Shonagon that are included in The Pillow Book. What does each poem mean? What imagery does Shonagon use? Do her poems have a common theme?

Essay Topic 2

How was The Pillow Book discovered and made public? Did Shonagon mean to have others read her work? What evidence is there that she may have meant for the book to go public?

Essay Topic 3

How did Shonagon's personality develop from the time when she was first a lady-in-waiting to the time when she wrote the book? What changed about her? What may have brought those changes about?

(see the answer keys)

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