The Sixteen Pleasures Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Robert Hellenga
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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 do the nuns show Margot?

2. What do Margot and the abbess discuss concerning nuns?

3. Why does Margot almost miss the train as it is leaving a scheduled stop?

4. What does Margot realize about the books she quickly assesses?

5. What does Lucia bring with her to a convent when she joins?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Margot's discussion of the library with Madre Badessa.

2. What do Margot and Madre Badessa discuss concerning the nuns' vows?

3. What does Margot discover about the way the nuns work and how does Margot react?

4. How is Margot spending time during the long plane and train rides?

5. What are Margot's impressions of Professor Eugene Chapin?

6. Describe the scene when the taxi gets a flat tire.

7. How does the situation about the cassette tapes affect Margot's life even years later?

8. Discuss the significance of Señor Bruni in Margot's life as a teenager.

9. Who is Margeaux, and describe a scene that Margeaux is good at.

10. About what does Margot become curious while working at the convent, and what does she learn?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Margot learns about the inner workings of the convent and its vast land holdings as well as the politics of the church. Discuss the following:

1. Discuss the idea of a church holding great wealth. Do you think a church should have a great deal of wealth, or should it be spending everything to help people to have better lives? Why would a church hold on to its wealth rather than distributing it?

2. Discuss the paradox of the words, "In God We Trust" appearing on paper currency in the United States.

3. The Bishop, who has taken a vow of poverty, is quite concerned with controlling the assets of the convent. Who do you think should control the convent's assets? Do you think the Bishop has the convent's best interests at heart? Why or why not.

4.

Essay Topic 2

Italy, which is very strongly Roman Catholic, has very strict divorce laws in the 1960s, and still stricter laws in the present day compared to the United States. Discuss the following:

1. Compare/contrast the divorce laws and options in Italy of the 1960s to the United States of the 1960s. How are the alike? Different? What do you think is the rationale for each country's divorce laws? Do you think Italian or American divorce laws in the 1960s were too strict? In the present day?

2. Compare/contrast the divorce laws and options in Italy of the 1960s to present-day Italy. How are the alike? Different? What do you think is the reason for their divorce laws? Do you think Italian divorce laws in the 1960s were too strict? In the present day?

3. Why do you think Alessandro is seeking an annulment to his marriage rather than a divorce? (this will require a little research). Do you agree with the judges' ruling? Should any couple be allowed to divorce just because one or both of them want a divorce? Why or why not. What is the purpose of making couples go through divorce? Does the idea of an annulment seem hypocritical in many cases? What about in Alessandro's case.

Essay Topic 3

Setting as far as place and time play an important role in The Sixteen Pleasures. Discuss the following:

1. Compare/contrast several aspects of the setting of that time (1966s) from how it would be today. Consider things such as cultural norms/expectations, technology, religion and medicine.

2. Do you think The Sixteen Pleasures would be different if it were set in the United States? Consider the cultural differences as you discuss the way the story would change is set in the United States.

3. Discuss some of the differences between the United States and Italy of the late 1960s, as far as the relationship between men and women and gender expectations. What are some similarities? (This essay topic will require some research).

(see the answer keys)

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