The exam will consist of several essay questions, among which you will choose a total of three to answer. The following questions are designed to help you review for them:
Why is Y?gao s social position (based on her parents status as well as her own previous love affair with T? no Ch?j?) so central to the relationship she establishes with Genji, in the Evening Faces chapter in the Tale of Genji?
Compare the different examples of Heian diaries (i.e. Tosa Diary, Kager? nikki, Pillow Book, Sarashina Diary, and Diary of Murasaki Shikibu): What do most of them share in common? What distinguishes each one in particular, for example in their interest in romantic relationships, the etiquette at court, or the burdens placed on women to conform to social norms?
What is the role of Komachi in the Noh (N?) play Sotoba Komachi? Contrast her image and fate portrayed there, with her poetry in the Kokinsh?. And, how are this play s themes of sin and renunciation of the flesh typical of Noh drama?
How do themes like the emptiness or unreality of the phenomenal world find expression in works such as Account of My Hut, or Prose Poem on the Unreal Dwelling?
Discuss Tokubei and Ohatsu s predicament, torn between the desire to fulfill their love, and their obligations to abide by their society s rules, in Love Suicide at Sonezaki,
Give some examples of Matsuo Bash? s interest in historical sites from The Narrow Road to Oku. Why do you think he includes so many of these in this work? What do such references add to the account?
Describe the gradual transformation of the heroine of Life of a Sensuous Woman over the course of her life. Does she grow wiser as she approaches old age? Is she sincere about renouncing pleasure, and giving up her addiction to sexual pleasure?
Contrast tanka and haiku in terms of tone, form, and subject matter.
Choose one example from the following: The Serpent s Lust, The Reed-Choked House, Chrysanthemum Pledge, and The Holy Man of Shinano, and discuss how its supernatural events are important to the development of the story.
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