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

Sei Shōnagon
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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 kind of carriage was supposed to move slowly according to Shonagon?

2. Which worm was said to have been begotten by a demon?

3. What kind of plant did Shonagon find pretty when it floated on the water of a pond?

4. Where did the women plan to go to hear a hototogisu sing during the Abstinence of the Fifth Month?

5. What does Shonagon say was depressing for a messenger who brought a gift to a house where a child was just born?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why did Shonagon think that moonlight shining on snow on the roof of common people's houses was unsuitable?

2. Why did Shonagon say that there was nothing worse than a poorly dressed ox carriage driver?

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

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

5. Why did Tsunefusa begin calling Shonagon Grass Hut?

6. Why did the name of the water-plantain amuse Shonagon?

7. Why did the women laugh at the paintings on the sliding screen in Seiryo Palace?

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

9. Why did Shonagon say a wickerwork carriage should move swiftly?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How did living at court affect Shonagon's view of the world? How did she feel about ordinary, but necessary, things? Was her view of the world realistic?

Essay Topic 2

What factual information is known about Sei Shonagon? When did she live? What was her position in life?

Essay Topic 3

What is the significance of The Pillow Book? Why is it important to Japanese history? What is it's linguistic significance?

(see the answer keys)

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