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. How does Mary respond at first to Colin's sexual advances?

2. What does Colin say must happen before he and Mary decide if they will stay at Caroline and Robert's home for dinner?

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

4. What circumstance seems to set an ominous tone for the evening for Mary?

5. How does the waiter react when Mary and Colin order water and coffee?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the notebook Mary keeps as a thirteen-year-old. Why is her mind drawn to this memory while vacationing?

2. Why do Mary and Colin leave late for the beach? What is the motivation behind their change of plans?

3. Describe the setting of the first chapter

4. Why do Mary and Colin depart the riverboat early? How does their ultimate destination differ from their intended destination?

5. How does Colin's experience with Robert at the bar compare to Mary's experience with Caroline in the apartment?

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

7. Describe the two times that Mary and Colin discuss Robert's photograph of Colin in this chapter. How are they different?

8. What do Robert and Caroline initially do to Colin? How does he prevent this?

9. Describe Robert's first meeting with Caroline.

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

While Mary's children never appear in the novel, their influence is felt on the story. In your essay:

1) describe Mary's children and their life circumstances.

2) discuss at least two events where the children play a role in the scene

3) discuss the significance of the children in the scene. What do they represent?

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

Essay Topic 2

The setting of The Comfort of Strangers strongly influences the plot of the novel. Discuss the role that the setting plays in this novel. Focus on how it influences the choices and actions of the characters. Be sure to cite specific evidence from the novel to support your ideas.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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