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. Who is Margeaux?

2. Where does Margot finally disembark for good?

3. Where does Margot decide to stay?

4. Who does Margot tell Postiglione came up with the drying process?

5. What did Alessandro do on the day of the flood?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does Margot's new living quarters remind her of and how does she change that?

3. What is the significance of the cassette tapes when Margot's mother is dying?

4. What did Alessandro do on the day of the November 4th flood?

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

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

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

8. What are Margot's options for a room when she gets off the train in Florence?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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).

Essay Topic 2

Oftentimes, a novel is more of a character-driven plot rather than action driven, and oftentimes the other way. Some books seem to balance the two. Discuss the following:

1. What do you think it means to say that a plot is character driven? Action driven?

2. How do you think a plot differs if it is character driven versus action driven?

3. Which type of plot do you find more interesting? Why?

4. Do you think it is possible to have a plot where action and character development share equal time? Why or why not.

5. What type of plot do you think The Sixteen Pleasures is? Explain your response.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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