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THE SAMURAI'S TALE
by Erik Haugaard

Study Guide Questions

(source)

ch. 1-4
pp.1-31
ch. 5-7
pp. 32-56
ch. 8-12
pp. 57-89
ch. 13-16
pp. 90-117
ch. 17-21
pp. 118-153
ch. 22-25
pp. 154-181
ch. 26-30
pp. 182-211
ch. 31-34
pp. 212-234

The Samurai's Tale
Study Guide Questions
Chapter 1 to 4, pp. 1 - 31

(Reminder: Questions in full italics are open ended questions, thus no right or wrong answers)

  1. Who is the narrator of The Samurai's Tale?
  1. What is the setting of the tale?
  1. How does Murakami's father die?
  1. How does Murakami lose all of his family in one day?
  1. How and why is Murakami renamed?
  1. How does Murakami become the servant of his father's enemy?
  1. Who is Togan?
  1. How does Togan die?
  1. Make a prediction:  Will Taro follow the soldier's advice to stay away from the bully who "stings without reason"?
  1. What do you think is the most important lesson Taro learns from Togan?



The Samurai's Tale

Study Guide Questions

Chapter 5 to 7, pp. 32 - 56

(Reminder: Questions in full italics are open ended questions, thus no right or wrong answers)

 

  1. To what job is Taro promoted from the kitchen?

 

  1. Why does Taro beat Jiro?

 

  1. Whom does Lord Akiyama order Taro to accompany?

 

  1. Why does Katsuyori go to the temple?

 

  1. Why does Takeda Shingen want his son Yoshinobu dead?

 

  1. How does Taro learn to write?

 

  1. Why does Taro practice Zen?

 

  1. What does Taro tell his master's father about the ronins?

 

  1. Make a prediction:  What do you think is in the letter Taro has been asked to deliver to Lord Akiyama?

 

  1. Would you handle the bully, Jiro, as Taro does?



The Samurai's Tale

Study Guide Questions

Chapter 8 to 12, pp. 57 - 89

(Reminder: Questions in full italics are open ended questions, thus no right or wrong answers)

 

  1. What message does Taro deliver to Lord Akiyama?

 

  1. To what new job does Lord Akiyama promote Taro?

 

  1. Who is Yoshitoki?

 

  1. How do Taro and Yoshitoki escape from the bandits?

 

  1. Name two predictions made by the strange old man in the hut.

 

  1. Why do Taro and Yoshitoki decide that the old man was a ghost?

 

  1. How does Taro get his family name back?

 

  1. Why does Lord Akiyama give Taro a sword?

 

  1. Make a prediction:  Will Lord Takeda Shingen become master of Japan?  What will happen to Murakami when Shingen makes his move?

 

  1. Why do you think Taro and Yoshitoki become such good friends?



The Samurai's Tale

Study Guide Questions

Chapter 13 to 16, pp. 90 - 117

(Reminder: Questions in full italics are open ended questions, thus no right or wrong answers)

 

  1. Who are the two main warlords competing to become ruler of Japan?

 

  1. How are these rivals different?

 

  1. What job is Murakami given after Lord Takeda decided to go to war?

 

  1. How does Murakami punish the thief who stole the rice?

 

  1. What happens to the man who disappeared while leading the horse carrying rice to Lord Akiyama?

 

  1. How does Murakami get into a sword fight?

 

  1. Why doesn't the ronin accept Murakami's offer of help?

 

  1. Why does the ronin want Murakami to behead him?

 

  1. Make a prediction:  Murakami refused to behead the ronin.  Will Murakami eventually kill others?

 

  1. Should the ronin have accepted Murakami's offer to bind his wound?



The Samurai's Tale

Study Guide Questions

Chapter 17 to 21, pp. 118 - 153

(Reminder: Questions in full italics are open ended questions, thus no right or wrong answers)

 

  1. What is in the bag Murakami's captain gives him?

 

  1.  How does Murakami gain a new helmet?

 

  1.  What castle does Lord Akiyama order his men to besiege?

 

  1. How do Murakami and others learn that Lord Toyama is dead?

 

  1. To what warlord is Lady Toyama related?

 

  1. Briefly describe the trap Lord Akiyama sets.

 

  1. How does Lord Akiyama treat his prisoners?

 

  1. Why is Murakami afraid that Lord Akiyama would be angry with him?

 

  1. Make a prediction:  What new responsibilities will Lord Akiyama give Murakami?

 

  1. Why do you think Murakami doesn't want the ronin's head?


The Samurai's Tale

Study Guide Questions

Chapter 22 to 25, pp. 154 - 181

(Reminder: Questions in full italics are open ended questions, thus no right or wrong answers)

 

  1. What is rumored to be in the letter Akiyama sends to the castle?

 

  1. Why would Wada Kansuke and others want Lord Akiyama to marry Lady Toyama?

 

  1. Why does Murakami bring back millet instead of rice?

 

  1. Why is Murakami, again, worried that Lord Akiyama would be angry with him?

 

  1. What does Lord Akiyama ask Murakami about Lord Shingen?

 

  1. How does Murakami figure out who Aki-hime is, and why does he stare?

 

  1. Why does Lord Akiyama send a guard to Nagashino Castle before proposing to Lady Toyama?

 

  1. For what does Lord Takeda Shingen praise Murakami?

 

  1. Make a prediction:  Will Murakami end up with Lord Zakoji's daughter?

 

  1. Why do you think Lord Zakoji reveals his "secret"--that he was deaf--to Murakami?



The Samurai's Tale

Study Guide Questions

Chapter 26 to 30, pp. 182 - 211

(Reminder: Questions in full italics are open ended questions, thus no right or wrong answers)

 

  1. Name one obstacle that stands in the way of a match between Aki-hime and Murakami.

 

  1.  What does Lord Zakoji say to Murakami about a match between the samurai and his daughter?

 

  1.  What sort of parties does Lord Akiyama invite Murakami and the other young men to join, for entertainment?

 

  1. What does Lord Zakoji become?

 

  1.  What happens to Yoshitoki?

 

  1. What happens to Lord Shingen?

 

  1. Whose army puts Iwamura Castle under siege?

 

  1. What dangerous mission does Murakami accept?

 

  1. Make a prediction:  Will Murakami have any "close calls" as he makes his way to Kofuchu? Will he bring back help?

 

  1. Why do you think Wada Kansuke seems reassured by Murakami's observation that "A storm will fell the tallest tree in the forest and only bend the sapling"?


The Samurai's Tale

Study Guide Questions

Chapter 31 to 34, pp. 212 - 234

(Reminder: Questions in full italics are open ended questions, thus no right or wrong answers)

 

  1. Why does Murakami decide to leave the castle on a moonless night?

 

  1. When does Murakami speak to Aki-Hime for the first time--and what did he say?

 

  1. To whom does Lord Akiyama ask Murakami to deliver the two letters?

 

  1. How do Lord Akiyama and Murakami differ in their opinions about whether they owe loyalty to Takeda Katsuyori?

 

  1. Who is behind the screen in Lord Akiyama's room--and why does that person sob (p. 215)?

 

  1. How does Murakami disguise himself on the way back to Iwamura?

 

  1. Why doesn't Katsuyori send help to the castle?

 

  1. How do Murakami and Aki-hime escape Lord Akiyama's and Lady Toyama's fate?

 

  1. Make a prediction:  What is Murakami's life like between the time he escapes to Kofuchu with Aki--and the time he tells the tale?

 

  1. Why do you think the narrator says, "What happened later may also be worth the telling"?