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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. For what type of business does May Kasahara administer surveys?
2. Who calls Toru Okada in Chapter 11 immediately before the arrive of Lieutenant Mamiya?
3. In a letter Toru receives in Chapter 11, who does Kumiko say she is having an affair with?
4. What changes about the style of writing in Chapter 3?
5. What career advice does Toru Okada recall Mr. Honda giving in Chapter 4?
Short Essay Questions
1. In the story of Chapter 13, why does the Russian commander choose not to kill Lieutenant Mamiya?
2. How does pain return to Creta Kano's life?
3. What does Toru Okada discover while shaving in Chapter 12?
4. How does Kumiko explain her own disappearance in her letter of Chapter 11?
5. Why are the Okadas estranged from the Watayas?
6. What is the Clumsy Massacre of Chapter 9?
7. Describe Toru Okada's life at the beginning of the novel.
8. What painful admission does May Kasahara make in Chapter 15?
9. Why does Toru Okada choose to go into the well behind the old Miyawaki house?
10. What two requests does Creta Kano make of Toru Okada in Chapter 14 and how does he respond?
Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:
Essay Topic 1
Dreams play a key role in the advancing of plot in Murakami's novel. Write an essay, discussing the role that dreams play in Toru Okada's journey. Who does he meet while in a dream state? What new information does he gain from these dreams? Write a paragraph about each type of dream the Toru has over the course of the novel. As a conclusion, discuss whether the dream-world of the novel has any concrete bearing on the waking world.
Essay Topic 2
A major theme of Murakami's novel is personal reinvention, and this reinvention is often made most explicit in characters who choose to rename themselves and others. Write an essay about characters in the novel who choose to change names, focusing on three instances. What events transpire that precipitate this change? What is the nature of the change? Is the change permanent? Conclude each paragraph by stating the essential thematic purpose for this change in name.
Part 1) Toru Okada, when speaking with May Kasahara.
Part 2) Malta and Creta Kano.
Part 3) Toru Okada's cat.
Essay Topic 3
Regularly throughout the novel, characters discover something deeply spiritual about themselves, brought about by their close proximity to death. Write an essay about three of these instances and their meaning in the novel:
Part 1) Describe the harrowing experience Lieutenant Mamiya experiences in Mongolia. How is he affected by his day in the dry well before being rescued? What changed in his outlook of the world?
Part 2) At what point does Creta Kano, after years of constant and unremitting pain, achieve some type of relief? What does this transition have to do with a proximity to death? How is this change connected to her eventual, more ethereal profession?
Part 3) When does Toru Okada develop the blue-black mark on his face? What traumatic and somewhat dangerous occurrence does this follow? What new and spiritual powers does this mark seem to imbue Toru with?
This section contains 1,136 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)