The Comfort of Strangers 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. Why do Mary and Colin not leave the cafe after the waiter shakes his head at their order?

2. Who do Mary and Colin meet while at the cafe?

3. Where is Robert's wife originally from?

4. Who does Mary tell Colin they should have brought with them on vacation?

5. What condition does Caroline require Mary and Colin to meet in order to get their clothes back?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Caroline define being "in love" with someone? How does the definition of love differ for men and women according to Caroline?

2. Why does Mary begin thinking of her children in this chapter? What does she wish she had done?

3. What is the significance of the smell of cologne for Robert? Why?

4. Describe Colin and Mary's nightly ritual (in the hotel room) before leaving for dinner

5. What is unusual about Robert's interactions with Mary and Colin in this chapter?

6. Describe the setting around the tourist attraction clock tower.

7. Who do Mary and Colin notice outside of the street side cafe? How is he the same? How is he different?

8. Describe the display in the department store window that both Mary and Colin comment on.

9. How does the author initially describe Robert?

10. What information about the bar does Caroline share with Mary? How does Mary react?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Despite the warning signs Mary and Colin are given about Robert and Caroline's motives, the couple still remains in their company. In your essay:

1) describe at least two "warnings" that should have drawn Mary and Colin's attention to the danger they were about to encounter

2) discuss how Mary and Colin choose to react instead

3) discuss what you think (as a reader) motivates the couple to ignore these signs.

Cite several specific examples from the novel to support your ideas.

Essay Topic 2

The sexual brutality in this novel is shocking and disturbing to readers. In your essay discuss the significance of McEwan's choice to include it in the story. What does sexual brutality bring to the story? Why is it important? Why do you think McEwan chose to include it in the story line?

Essay Topic 3

The gallery in Robert's apartment plays an important role in the novel. It serves as a symbol on many levels. Discuss the significance of the gallery in the novel. Cite several specific examples from the novel to support your ideas.

(see the answer keys)

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