The Wind-up Bird Chronicle Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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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 does May Kasahara do before leaving the well at the end of Chapter 9?

2. What does the factory where May Kasahara works produce?

3. What color is the mark that Toru discovers on his cheek in Chapter 12?

4. Who is Malta Kano looking for when she calls Toru Okada at the beginning of Chapter 12?

5. What animal inhabits the disgusting island that is the subject of Toru Okada's metaphorical story in Chapter 3?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does the unnamed boy see in Chapter 3?

2. What is the Clumsy Massacre of Chapter 9?

3. How does the infant Nutmeg nearly killed in the story of Chapter 9?

4. Why does Toru Okada stay in the well longer than he intended?

5. What financial decision does Toru Okada make at the beginning of Book 3?

6. Describe Nutmeg.

7. Why is a local tabloid so concerned with the the Miyawaki house in Chapter 7?

8. Describe Kumiko and Toru Okada's first date.

9. What does Noboru Wataya want to say to Toru Okada in Chapter 3?

10. Describe Toru Okada's dream in Chapter 2.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Much of the important action of the novel, including the climax, occurs not in the real world, but in dreams and in a sort of metaphysical hotel. Write an essay about these events that occur in a sub- or supernatural world, focusing on three of them:

Part 1) When Creta Kano appears to Toru Okada, and the two have sex, how is this more than a mere erotic dream? Why does it affect both of them in their waking lives? In analyzing this sexual encounter, explain what Creta Kano's profession is, and how it relates. Why does she come to Toru's dream?

Part 2) Write a paragraph describing Toru Okada's first trip to the metaphysical hotel. What is he doing in the real, waking world that allows him entry? When Toru emerges, what has changed about him? Is this change emotional or physical?

Part 3) Describe the climax of the novel as it takes place in the hotel. What very real dangers does Toru Okada face and what achievement does he have in his conflict with Noboru Wataya? What does he understand by the end? How are his actions in the hotel reflected in his waking life?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Perhaps the most central theme of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is the interconnectedness of humanity and the impossibility of escaping said interconnectedness. Write an essay about several characters' attempts to distance themselves from humanity and how they are pulled back:

Part 1) Why does Kumiko try to alienate herself from her family? How does she go about doing this, and how is she pulled back into the Wataya sphere? To what extent is Kumiko destroyed emotionally and existentially by her return to her family?

Part 2) Why does May Kasahara choose to leave Tokyo, and where does she go? Is this flight indicative of a desire to be separated from the society at large? Who is the only person with whom she maintains communication? How does she rediscover her interconnectedness with society?

Part 3) How is Toru Okada the definition of social alienation at the beginning of the novel? Who does he have in his life, and what does he do with his days? Write out the steps by which he leaves his house and accepts other into his life.

(see the answer keys)

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