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The Paper Menagerie: ISC Class 11 English (Prism) solutions

The Paper Menagerie isc 11
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Get notes, line-by-line explanation, summary, questions and answers, critical analysis, and pdf of the story “The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu which is part of ISC Class 11 English (Prism). However, the notes should only be treated for references and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.

Summary

“The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu is a touching story about a Chinese woman and her American-born son. The story is narrated from the perspective of the son, Jack.

The woman, Jack’s mother, was born in 1957 in Sigulu Village, Hebei Province, China, a place known for its zhezhi papercraft. She experienced the Great Famines in China, during which thirty million people died. She learned the art of zhezhi papercraft from her mother, creating paper animals that could come to life.

During the Cultural Revolution in 1966, her family was targeted because her uncle had moved to Hong Kong. Her parents were killed, leaving her an orphan at the age of ten. She managed to escape to Hong Kong, where she was sold to a family to work as a domestic helper. She was mistreated and lived in fear for six years until an old woman helped her find a way out. She was introduced to the concept of American men seeking Asian wives, and she saw this as her only hope for a better life.

She ended up in a catalogue and was chosen by Jack’s father. She moved to Connecticut, where she felt lonely and misunderstood. However, the birth of her son, Jack, brought her immense joy. She taught him her language and shared her zhezhi papercraft with him, creating paper animals.

However, as Jack grew older, he began to feel embarrassed by his mother’s broken English and Chinese heritage. He distanced himself from her, causing her great pain. She stopped speaking when he was around and stopped making paper animals when he was in high school.

Years later, Jack’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Before she died, she wrote a letter to Jack in Chinese, leaving it in one of the paper animals. After her death, Jack found the letter and had it translated. The letter expressed her love for him and her pain at their estrangement. It also told the story of her life, which Jack had never known.

The story ends with Jack, holding the paper animal containing his mother’s letter, beginning to understand and appreciate his mother’s love and sacrifices. He starts to reconnect with his Chinese heritage, which he had previously rejected.

About the author

Ken Liu was born in Lanzhou, China, and moved to the United States when he was a kid. He finished his studies at Harvard College in 1998 and Harvard Law School in 2004. His first short story, “The Carthaginian Rose,” was published in 2002. He has written two books of short stories and three novels. He also wrote a Star Wars book. Ken Liu has won many awards for his writing, including a Nebula Award, a Hugo Award, and a World Fantasy Award for his short story ‘The Paper Menagerie.’ He is also known for translating Chinese science fiction into English, like the popular novel The Three-Body Problem.

Ken Liu is known for writing science fiction and fantasy stories. His stories are influenced by both the tradition of science fiction and fantasy and by Chinese history and culture. His short story ‘The Paper Menagerie’ is a fantasy story that also tells about a Chinese immigrant mother and her American son. The story talks about racism and identity, love between family members and feeling distant from them, and art and business. The story is told from the point of view of the son. It talks about themes and relationships that will make the reader think. The story tells about how the son was close to his mother when he was a kid, but then felt embarrassed and impatient because she couldn’t speak English well. The mother feels helpless but keeps trying to connect with her son. After the mother dies, the son starts to think differently about his mother.

Workbook solutions/answers

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

(i) How did Mom react to Jack’s sobbing?

Answer: (d) she left the bedroom 

(Note: It can be inferred that she tried to soothe him by creating a paper tiger (origami) to distract him. So, the closest option is not provided in the MCQs)

(ii) How did Jack’s father select his mother as his wife?

Answer: (b) through introduction service

(iii) The catalogue gave which false information about Jack’s mother?

Answer: (d) all of the above

(iv) Where did Jack’s father take his mother from Hong Kong?

Answer: (a) Connectient

(v) Who was Laohu?

Answer: (a) a tiger

(vi) Who was the boy who started bullying Jack at school?

Answer: (b) Mark

(vii) What was Mom’s age when she was hospitalised?

Answer: (b) under forty

(viii) What was Jack worried about when he was in the hospital?

Answer: (c) his campus-placement

(ix) What did his mother ask him to do after his death?

Answer: (a) remember her at Qingming

(x) What is Quingming?

Answer: (c) a ritual to remember the dead

Logic-based questions:

1. Jack’s mother made the paper animals because ______.

Answer: she wanted to share her special ability and create a bond with Jack. She breathed life into these paper animals, making them move and behave like real animals.

2. Mom breathed into her paper animals because ______.

Answer: her breath was special. She shared her breath with the paper animals, which made them move with her life. This was her unique magic.

3. Sometimes the animals got into trouble because ______.

Answer: they behaved like real animals. For instance, the water buffalo wanted to wallow in a dish of soy sauce, which made it soggy and unable to stand.

4. Mom made a new shark for Jack, this time out of tinfoil because ______.

Answer: the first paper shark she made became soggy and fell apart when Jack put it in water.

5. Jack stopped talking to his mother because ______.

Answer: he was angry and didn’t like his Chinese heritage, which he saw reflected in his own physical features.

6. Jack packed the paper menageries in a shoebox because ______.

Answer: he was upset with his mother for not speaking English and for not being like other American moms. He wanted to distance himself from his Chinese heritage and fit in with his peers.

7. Even in the hospital where his mother was dying Jack was thinking of his job because ______.

Answer: he was in the middle of the on-campus recruiting season, focused on resumes, transcripts, and strategically constructed interview schedules. He was more concerned about his future career than his mother’s deteriorating health.

8. Jack’s father aged rapidly after his mother died because ______.

Answer: he was deeply affected by her loss. The house they lived in became too big for him and he had to sell it.

9. Susan remarked that Jack’s mother was an amazing artist because ______.

Answer: she found the paper menagerie in the attic and was impressed by the origami animals that Jack’s mother had made.

10. Jack felt ashamed of himself when he heard about his mother’s life because ______.

Answer: he realized how much his existence and their shared language meant to her, and how much pain he caused her by rejecting her and their shared heritage.

Short answer questions

1. Comment upon Jack’s mother’s art of making paper managerie?

Answer: Jack’s mother was skilled in the art of origami, which she referred to as “zhezhi”. She could create intricate paper animals, such as tigers, that were so lifelike they could move and even make sounds. This was a unique talent that she used to connect with her son and share her cultural heritage with him. However, as Jack grew older, he began to see these creations as childish and embarrassing, leading him to reject them and, by extension, his mother’s love and heritage.

2. What made Jack almost stop talking to his mother?

Answer: Jack’s relationship with his mother began to deteriorate as he grew older and became more conscious of the cultural differences between them. He was embarrassed by her broken English and Chinese accent, and he began to correct her and eventually stopped speaking to her altogether when she was around. His mother’s attempts to connect with him, such as miming things or trying to hug him like American mothers do, only annoyed him further. This, combined with his desire to fit in with his American peers, led him to almost stop talking to his mother.

3. What problems did Jack face in America? Why did the natives bully him?

Answer: Jack faced significant cultural and racial challenges in America. He was bullied at school, particularly by a boy named Mark, who made fun of his Chinese heritage. This bullying was so severe that Jack began to reject his Chinese identity, even asking his father if he had a “chink face”. He also insisted that his family eat American food and speak English at home, further distancing himself from his Chinese heritage. The bullying and his desire to fit in with his American peers led him to reject his mother and her Chinese heritage.

4. Who was Susan? What was her attitude towards Jack’s mother and her art of paper managerie?

Answer: Susan was Jack’s girlfriend. She found Jack’s mother’s paper menagerie in the attic and was amazed by the artistry, referring to Jack’s mother as an “amazing artist”. This suggests that Susan had a positive and appreciative attitude towards Jack’s mother and her art of paper menagerie.

5. How was Jack affected by the letter written to him by his mother after her death?

Answer: Jack was deeply affected by the letter written by his mother after her death. The letter revealed his mother’s life story, her struggles, and her love for him. It made him realize the sacrifices his mother made and the cultural heritage she tried to pass on to him. This realization brought him a sense of regret and a longing for his mother. He even sought help to understand the Chinese characters in the letter, showing his renewed interest in his Chinese heritage.

6. Comment upon the social discrimination Jack had to confront in America.

Answer: Jack had to confront social discrimination in America due to his Chinese heritage. He was embarrassed by his mother’s broken English and her Chinese customs, which made him feel different from his peers. He was also subjected to racial slurs at school, which led him to reject his Chinese heritage and demand that his family assimilate into American culture. This discrimination caused a rift between him and his mother, as he began to resent her for making him feel different.

Long answer questions

1. With close reference to the text describe the relationship between Jack and his parents.

Answer: The relationship between Jack and his parents, particularly his mother, is complex and evolves throughout the story. In his early childhood, Jack shares a close bond with his mother, who creates magical origami animals that come to life, a testament to their shared imaginative world. However, as Jack grows older and becomes more influenced by his peers and American culture, he begins to feel embarrassed by his mother’s lack of English proficiency and her cultural practices. This leads to a strained relationship, with Jack rejecting his mother’s attempts to connect with him through her paper menagerie. His relationship with his father is less explored but seems to be more distant, with his father often absent or trying to mediate the tension between Jack and his mother.

2. What role is played by paper managerie in the story? Discuss with close reference to the text.

Answer: The paper menagerie plays a significant role in the story, serving as a symbol of Jack’s mother’s love, her cultural heritage, and the magic of childhood. 

The paper animals, particularly Laohu the tiger, are a source of joy and wonder for young Jack. They represent the unique bond between Jack and his mother, as well as her special talent and the cultural tradition she brings from her homeland. However, as Jack grows older and becomes more assimilated into American culture, the paper menagerie becomes a source of embarrassment and a reminder of his mother’s foreignness. In the end, the paper menagerie, especially the letter from his mother hidden inside Laohu, helps Jack to reconnect with his mother’s memory and understand her experiences and sacrifices.

3. Comment upon the ending of the story.

Answer: The ending of the story is poignant and filled with regret. Jack, now an adult, discovers a letter from his mother hidden inside the paper tiger, Laohu. The letter reveals the hardships his mother faced in her life, her love for him, and her longing for him to understand and appreciate his Chinese heritage. This revelation leads Jack to a deeper understanding of his mother and fills him with regret for his past actions. The story ends on a note of sadness and reflection, as Jack grapples with his loss and the newfound understanding of his mother’s life.

4. The main idea projected in the story is about social prejudices and their impact on human relationships. Discuss.

Answer: The story explores the theme of social prejudices and their impact on relationships through Jack’s experiences. Jack’s mother is a Chinese immigrant who faces prejudice and isolation due to her lack of English proficiency and her adherence to her cultural practices. Jack, influenced by the prejudices of his peers and society, begins to feel embarrassed by his mother’s differences and distances himself from her. This leads to a strained relationship and a loss of connection with his cultural heritage. The story highlights how social prejudices can create divisions and misunderstandings within families and cause individuals to reject their own identities. It also underscores the importance of empathy and understanding in overcoming these prejudices.

Additional questions and answers

1. Who is the narrator of the story?

Answer: The story is narrated by Jack, the son of a Chinese woman and an American man.

2. What is zhezhi?

Answer: Zhezhi is a traditional Chinese papercraft.

What is the significance of the title “The Paper Menagerie”?

3. What was Qingming?

Answer: Qingming was the Chinese Festival for the Dead

4. How does the story explore the theme of cultural identity?

Answer: The story explores the theme of cultural identity through the experiences of the protagonist’s mother and her struggles to fit into American society. She tries to maintain her Chinese heritage by speaking Chinese and making traditional zhezhi papercraft. However, her son, Jack, rejects his Chinese heritage, causing a rift between them. The story also explores cultural identity through Jack’s journey of self-discovery and acceptance of his Chinese heritage after his mother’s death.

5. How does the protagonist’s attitude towards his mother change throughout the story?

Answer: In his early years, Jack shares a close bond with his mother, enjoying her stories and the magical paper animals she creates. However, as he grows older and becomes more aware of societal norms, he starts to feel embarrassed by his mother’s broken English and Chinese heritage. He distances himself from her, causing her great pain. After her death, when he discovers a letter she wrote to him, his attitude changes. He begins to understand and appreciate his mother’s love and sacrifices, and starts to reconnect with his Chinese heritage.

6. What role does the cultural revolution play in the mother’s life?

Answer: The Cultural Revolution plays a significant role in the mother’s life. During the Cultural Revolution, her family was targeted because her uncle had moved to Hong Kong. Her parents were killed, leaving her an orphan at the age of ten. This traumatic experience shaped her life, leading her to escape to Hong Kong, and eventually to America.

7. How does the mother’s past influence her relationship with her son?

Answer: The mother’s past greatly influences her relationship with her son. Her experiences during the Cultural Revolution and her journey to America shape her desire to preserve her Chinese heritage and pass it on to Jack. However, Jack’s rejection of his Chinese heritage causes a rift between them. After her death, Jack learns about her past through her letter, which helps him understand her better and appreciate her sacrifices.

8. How does the author use the paper animals to symbolize the mother’s love for her son?

Answer: The author uses the paper animals as a symbol of the mother’s love for her son. The mother creates these magical paper animals that come to life, reflecting her love, care, and the cultural heritage she wants to share with Jack. Even when Jack rejects his Chinese heritage and distances himself from her, she continues to leave paper animals for him, symbolizing her unchanging love for him. After her death, Jack finds her letter in one of the paper animals, further emphasizing that these animals are a symbol of her enduring love and her desire to communicate with him.

9. What is the significance of the mother’s letter to her son?

Answer: The significance of the mother’s letter to her son is multifold. It serves as a final expression of her love, a plea for understanding, and a testament to her life’s journey. The letter reveals her feelings of loss when her son rejects his Chinese heritage and stops speaking to her in Chinese. She expresses the joy he brought to her life and the pain she felt when he distanced himself from her. The letter is a reminder of their shared history and the deep emotional bond between them.

10. How does the story depict the immigrant experience in America?

Answer: The story depicts the immigrant experience in America through the mother’s journey from China to America. She is initially seen as an outsider, struggling with language barriers and cultural differences. The mother’s experience is marked by isolation and the struggle to maintain her cultural heritage while adapting to a new environment. The story also explores the second-generation immigrant experience through the son, who feels caught between two cultures and ultimately rejects his Chinese heritage in an attempt to fit into American society.

11. How does the protagonist’s attitude towards his Chinese heritage change over time?

Answer: The protagonist’s attitude towards his Chinese heritage changes significantly over time. As a child, he embraces his heritage, enjoying his mother’s paper menagerie and the stories she tells. However, as he grows older and faces the pressures of fitting into American society, he begins to reject his Chinese heritage. He stops speaking Chinese and distances himself from his mother. It is only after his mother’s death that he begins to reconnect with his heritage, prompted by the discovery of his mother’s letter and the paper tiger, Laohu.

12. What is the significance of the incident between Mark, Jack, and the paper tiger?

Answer: The incident between Mark, Jack, and the paper tiger is significant as it marks a turning point in Jack’s perception of his mother’s craft and his Chinese heritage. When Mark dismisses the paper tiger as “trash”, Jack begins to see his mother’s creations, which he once cherished, in a different light. This incident triggers Jack’s rejection of his Chinese heritage and his distancing from his mother.

13. How does Mark’s reaction to the paper tiger affect Jack’s perception of his mother’s craft?

Answer: Mark’s reaction to the paper tiger affects Jack’s perception of his mother’s craft by making him see the paper animals as mere trash rather than the magical creations he once thought them to be. This incident leads Jack to reject his mother’s craft and, by extension, his Chinese heritage.

14. What is the cultural background of the protagonist’s mother?

Answer: The cultural background of the protagonist’s mother is Chinese. She was born and raised in a village in China where she learned the art of zhezhi, or paper folding, which she later used to create a paper menagerie for her son. She was orphaned during the Cultural Revolution and smuggled into Hong Kong, where she was adopted by a family and later met the protagonist’s father through a catalogue for American men seeking Asian wives.

15. How does the story depict the mother’s struggle with language and communication?

Answer: The story depicts the mother’s struggle with language and communication through her efforts to speak English. Initially, she communicates with her son in Chinese, but as he grows older and more assimilated into American culture, he insists that she speak English. This leads to a breakdown in their communication as her broken English embarrasses him and he stops speaking to her in Chinese. Eventually, she resorts to miming and stops speaking altogether when her son is around.

16. How does the story explore the theme of acceptance and rejection of one’s cultural heritage?

Answer: The story explores the theme of acceptance and rejection of one’s cultural heritage through the protagonist’s relationship with his mother and her Chinese heritage. As a child, he enjoys the paper menagerie his mother creates for him and communicates with her in Chinese. However, as he grows older and becomes more Americanized, he rejects his Chinese heritage, insisting that his mother speak English and stop making the paper animals. He also begins to feel embarrassed by his mother’s broken English and her Chinese cooking.

17. How does the incident with Mark influence Jack’s relationship with his mother and his cultural heritage?

Answer: The incident with Mark, a schoolmate who mocks the protagonist’s Chinese heritage, triggers a change in the protagonist’s relationship with his mother and his cultural heritage. After the incident, the protagonist starts rejecting his Chinese heritage more actively. He insists that his mother speak English, stops communicating with her in Chinese, and rejects her paper animals. He also asks his father if he has a “chink face,” reflecting his internalized racism and rejection of his Chinese heritage.

18. What is the mother’s experience during the Cultural Revolution in China?

Answer: The mother’s experience during the Cultural Revolution in China was traumatic. Her parents were accused of being spies because her uncle had moved to Hong Kong, and they were abused by their community. Unable to bear the abuse, her mother committed suicide by throwing herself down a well, and her father was dragged away by boys with hunting muskets and never returned. Left as a ten-year-old orphan, she was smuggled into Hong Kong where she was adopted by a family.

19. How does the mother end up in America?

Answer: The mother ends up in America through a mail-order bride service. She was living a difficult life in Hong Kong, working for a family that mistreated her. An old woman who sold fish to her in the morning market told her about American men who wanted Asian wives. She saw this as her only hope and got into the catalogue, which is how she met the protagonist’s father.

20. How does the story depict the impact of societal pressures on individual identity?

Answer: The story depicts societal pressures impacting individual identity through the protagonist’s struggle with his Chinese heritage. He is embarrassed by his mother’s broken English and her Chinese customs, and he tries to distance himself from his Chinese identity. This is likely influenced by societal pressures to conform to American norms.

21. What is the significance of the mother’s zhezhi papercraft in the story?

Answer: The mother’s zhezhi papercraft is significant as it represents her cultural heritage and her connection with her son. She breathes life into these paper animals, which is a part of her magic. However, as the protagonist grows older and becomes more distant from his Chinese heritage, he rejects these paper animals, symbolizing his rejection of his mother and her culture.

22. How does the story depict the mother’s experience of being a mail-order bride?

Answer: story depicts the mother’s experience of being a mail-order bride as a desperate escape from a harsh life in Hong Kong. She was mistreated by the family she worked for and saw the mail-order bride service as her only hope for a better life. However, her life in America was also filled with loneliness and misunderstanding due to cultural and language barriers.

23. What is the significance of the paper tiger, Laohu, in the story?

Answer: The paper tiger, Laohu, holds significant symbolic value in the story. It is a creation of the mother, made from origami, and it represents her love, her heritage, and her connection to her son. The tiger is a constant presence in the story, reflecting the mother’s enduring love for her son, even when he rejects her and her culture. It is through Laohu that the son eventually reconnects with his mother after her death, understanding her love and sacrifices, and regretting his earlier rejection of her.

24. How does the story explore the theme of mother-son relationships?

Answer: The story explores the theme of mother-son relationships through the evolving relationship between the protagonist and his mother. Initially, the son shares a close bond with his mother, enjoying her paper creations and their shared language. However, as he grows older and becomes more aware of societal norms and prejudices, he starts to reject his mother’s Chinese heritage, causing a rift in their relationship. The mother’s love for her son is constant, even when he rejects her. After her death, the son comes to realize the depth of his mother’s love and the sacrifices she made for him, leading to a sense of regret and a late appreciation of his mother.

25. How does the story explore the theme of identity and self-acceptance?

Answer: The story explores the theme of identity and self-acceptance through the protagonist’s struggle with his Chinese-American identity. As a child, he embraces his Chinese heritage, but as he grows older, he begins to reject it due to societal pressures and his desire to fit in. This rejection extends to his mother, who embodies this heritage. It is only after his mother’s death that he begins to understand and accept his Chinese heritage, symbolized by his reconnection with the paper tiger, Laohu, and his mother’s letter.

26. What is the birthplace of the protagonist’s mother?

Answer: Sigulu Village.

27. What craft does the protagonist’s mother practice?

Answer: Zhezhi.

28. How did the protagonist’s mother reach America?

Answer: As a mail-order bride.

28. In which province was the protagonist’s mother caught stealing food?

Answer: Guangdong.

29. Where was the protagonist’s mother smuggled to?

Answer: Hong Kong.

30. Which family selected the protagonist’s mother to take care of their boys?

Answer: The Chin family.

31. Where did the protagonist’s mother sleep in the Chin family house?

Answer: In a cupboard.

32. From whom did the protagonist’s mother learn about American men wanting Asian wives?

Answer: An old woman.

33. What does the protagonist’s mother consider the saddest feeling in the world?

Answer: A child’s late desire to care for their parents.

34. How did the protagonist’s mother feel when her son stopped talking to her?

Answer: Like she was losing everything.

35. How did the protagonist’s mother leave a part of herself behind for her son?

Answer: By making paper animals.

36. In which language did the protagonist’s mother write to her son?

Answer: Chinese.

37. What does the protagonist’s mother feel when she says ‘ai’?

Answer: Her heart.

38. What does the protagonist’s mother feel when she says ‘love’?

Answer: Her lips.

39. How does the protagonist’s mother describe her life?

Answer: Not very romantic.

40. What is the first memory of the protagonist’s mother?

Answer: Her mother eating dirt.

Additional MCQs

1. How did the mother end up in America?

A. She was born in America B. She moved for a job opportunity C. She was a mail-order bride D. She won a lottery for a green card

Answer: C. She was a mail-order bride

2. What is the protagonist’s relationship with his mother?

A. They are very close and share a strong bond B. They have a strained relationship due to cultural and language differences C. They have a professional relationship D. They have no relationship

Answer: B. They have a strained relationship due to cultural and language differences

3. What is the significance of the mother’s zhezhi papercraft?

A. It is a hobby she picked up in America B. It represents her cultural heritage and her connection with her son C. It is a business she runs from home D. It has no significance

Answer: B. It represents her cultural heritage and her connection with her son

4. How does the protagonist feel about his Chinese heritage?

A. He is proud of it B. He is indifferent to it C. He tries to distance himself from it D. He is confused about it

Answer: C. He tries to distance himself from it

5. How does the protagonist’s relationship with his mother change over time?

A. It remains the same throughout his life B. It improves as he grows older C. It deteriorates as he grows older D. It fluctuates throughout his life

Answer: C. It deteriorates as he grows older

6. How does the mother feel about her son rejecting her and her culture?

A. She is indifferent to it B. She is angry and resentful C. She is deeply hurt but continues to love him D. She disowns him

Answer: C. She is deeply hurt but continues to love him

7. What is the significance of the paper tiger, Laohu, in the story?

A. It is a toy the protagonist bought from a store B. It represents the protagonist’s love for animals C. It represents the mother’s love, her heritage, and her connection to her son D. It has no significance

Answer: C. It represents the mother’s love, her heritage, and her connection to her son

8. How does the protagonist feel about his mother’s broken English?

A. He finds it endearing B. He is embarrassed by it C. He is indifferent to it D. He is proud of her for trying to learn a new language

Answer: B. He is embarrassed by it

9. How does the protagonist react when his mother tries to hug him the way American mothers do on TV?

A. He is comforted by it B. He is annoyed by it C. He is indifferent to it D. He appreciates her effort to fit in

Answer: B. He is annoyed by it

10. How does the protagonist feel about his mother’s attempts to speak English?

A. He is proud of her for trying to learn a new language B. He is embarrassed by her broken English and tries to correct her C. He is indifferent to it D. He finds it amusing

Answer: B. He is embarrassed by her broken English and tries to correct her

11. How does the protagonist feel about his mother’s zhezhi papercraft?

A. He loves them and cherishes them B. He is embarrassed by them and sees them as trash C. He is indifferent to them D. He finds them amusing

Answer: B. He is embarrassed by them and sees them as trash

12. What is the protagonist’s relationship with his father like?

A. They have a close and loving relationship B. They have a strained relationship due to cultural differences C. They have a professional relationship D. They have no relationship

Answer: A. They have a close and loving relationship

13. How does the protagonist feel about his Chinese heritage?

A. He is proud of it B. He is indifferent to it C. He tries to distance himself from it D. He is confused about it

Answer: C. He tries to distance himself from it

14. How does the protagonist’s mother end up in America?

A. She was born in America B. She moved for a job opportunity C. She was a mail-order bride D. She won a lottery for a green card

Answer: C. She was a mail-order bride

15. How does the protagonist’s mother feel about her son rejecting her and her culture?

A. She is indifferent to it B. She is angry and resentful C. She is deeply hurt but continues to love him D. She disowns him

Answer: C. She is deeply hurt but continues to love him

16. How does the protagonist feel about his mother’s broken English?

A. He finds it endearing B. He is embarrassed by it C. He is indifferent to it D. He is proud of her for trying to learn a new language

Answer: B. He is embarrassed by it

17. How does the protagonist react when his mother tries to hug him the way American mothers do on TV?

A. He is comforted by it B. He is annoyed by it C. He is indifferent to it D. He appreciates her effort to fit in

Answer: B. He is annoyed by it

18. How does the protagonist feel about his mother’s attempts to speak English?

A. He is proud of her for trying to learn a new language B. He is embarrassed by her broken English and tries to correct her C. He is indifferent to it D. He finds it amusing

Answer: B. He is embarrassed by her broken English and tries to correct her

19. What is the protagonist’s reaction when his friend Mark insults his mother’s zhezhi papercraft?

A. He defends his mother and her craft B. He is embarrassed and agrees with Mark C. He is indifferent to Mark’s opinion D. He finds it amusing

Answer: B. He is embarrassed and agrees with Mark

Fill in the blanks

1. Jack’s mother was born in the year _______ in Sigulu Village, Hebei Province.

Answer: 1957

2. The mother learned to make zhezhi papercraft from her _______.

Answer: mother

3. The mother ended up in America because she became a _______.

Answer: mail-order bride

4. The mother used to write a letter on _______ to her dead parents back in China.

Answer: Qingming

5. She used to fold the letter into a _______ and release it.

Answer: paper crane

6. The protagonist’s mother was caught stealing food in _______ Province.

Answer: Guangdong

7. The mother was smuggled across the border to _______.

Answer: Hong Kong

8. The protagonist’s mother was selected by the _______ family to take care of their two boys.

Answer: Chin

9. Jack’s mother was locked into a _______ in the kitchen to sleep.

Answer: cupboard

10. Jack’s mother was taught by an old woman about American men who wanted _______ wives.

Answer: Asian

11. She felt she was losing everything all over again when her son stopped _______ to her.

Answer: talking

12. She left a little of herself behind in the _______ animals she made for her son.

Answer: paper

13. The protagonist’s mother wrote to her son in _______ because she had to write with all her heart.

Answer: Chinese

14. Jack’s mother was from very poor _______ families with few relatives.

Answer: peasant

15. The protagonist’s mother’s first memory was waking up to see her mother eating _______ so that she could fill her belly and leave the last bit of flour for her.

Answer: dirt

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