The Pillow Book of Sei Sh¯onagon, Translated [from the Japanese] and Edited by Ivan Morris Topics for Discussion

Sei Shōnagon
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Describe Shonagon's relationship with her brother Norimitsu. Which one of them has more clout with the Emperor and Empress? How can you tell?

What do you think Shonagon's motivation is for writing this journal? If you were in her place, what topics would you write about?

Describe temple worship in the context of the courtiers. What does Shonagon enjoy about going to temples? What purpose do temples serve for her community?

What is Shonagon's relationship with the Empress? Are they equals? Does Shonagon "kiss up" to the Empress? How do you think the Empress feels about Shonagon?

Do you think Shonagon was writing merely for her own pleasure or also for an audience? What leads you to this conclusion?

Discuss the rules regarding romantic relationships among the courtiers. What part does marriage play in their society?

What would Shonagon be like if she were alive today? Can...

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This section contains 154 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, Translated [from the Japanese] and Edited by Ivan Morris Study Guide
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