The Pillow Book of Sei Sh¯onagon, Translated [from the Japanese] and Edited by Ivan Morris Test | Final 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 did Shonagon say the child who brought a letter to Tozammi's room looked like?

2. To whom did the Emperor pay his respects when he returned from his visit to Yawata?

3. According to Shonagon, what is it absurd for people to get angry about?

4. What kind of lodging did Shonagon stay in in "Shortly after the Twentieth of the Ninth Month?"

5. Who did Shonagon say it was pleasant for a court lady on leave to visit?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why was Shonagon impressed when the Empress guessed that the cherry blossoms had been ruined by the rain?

2. Why did the priest tell the women to keep talking all night after overhearing their conversation about where the wood for the Chamberlains' batons come from and talking about the names of clothing?

3. Why was Nobukata upset by Shonagon's response to his inquiry about how she felt about the poem "had not yet reached the term of thirty?"

4. Why was Shonagon uncertain of how to reply to Yukinari's gift of square cakes?

5. How did people respond to Masahiro being dressed more elegantly than most men and why did they respond that way?

6. Why did Shonagon say festivals held near the palace were distant but near?

7. Why was Shonagon happy to receive a note from a man that read "the rain that swells the water?"

8. Why did Shonagon say that a woman who leaves home because she is angry with her husband has lost power?

9. Why did Shonagon say that no one pays attention to a Palace Chaplain when he walks by?

10. Why did Shonagon say a man who had been promoted from Subordinate Officer to Chamberlain seemed like he had been reborn?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How was Shonagon's life affected by the politics of the time? What impact did they have on her living situation? How did they affect what people thought of her?

Essay Topic 2

What was Shonagon's relationship with Tanadobu? How did the two treat each other? How did Shonagon feel about him? How did he feel about her?

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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