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. What happens to Mary's legs during the night?

2. How do Robert's sisters attempt to embarrass him in front of Caroline?

3. What does Colin tell Caroline is the only downside to his and Mary's visit to Venice?

4. How does Mary characterize her relationship with Colin as she describes it to Caroline?

5. How does Robert react when Mary asks him how he met his wife?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Caroline lock Mary and Colin's clothes in a cabinet?

2. Describe Robert's father (as Robert presents him in this chapter)

3. How does Mary and Colin's relationship with the hotel maid change over the course of their vacation?

4. How does Robert's father react to him soiling his study? How does this make Robert feel?

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

6. What does Robert offer Mary and Colin at the end of the chapter? How do they react? How does Robert counteract?

7. What are Mary and Colin looking for as they journey through the city? Why?

8. What does Mary tell Colin she dreams about during their daily naps?

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

10. Describe Mary and Colin's experience outside of the hospital.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Compare and contrast the men and women in this novel. How are the female characters similar/different? How are the male characters similar/different? Then discuss why you think the author presents this variety of male and female characters in the novel. Be sure to cite specific evidence from the novel to support your ideas.

Essay Topic 2

Read the two inscriptions at the beginning of the novel.

Discuss the significance of these quote in reference to the novel. How do they fit (or not fit) the novel? Why do you think Ian McEwan chose these quotes? How do they work together to demonstrate the themes of the novel?

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

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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