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 Robert first meet Caroline?

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

3. Which of Caroline's character traits makes Robert fall in love with her?

4. What causes Mary and Colin to begin telling Robert about themselves?

5. What sound awakens Mary and Colin each afternoon?

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. Describe the gallery in Robert and Caroline's apartment

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

4. What does Colin confess to Mary as they are sitting on the beach? How does Mary react?

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

6. What do Robert's sisters feed him one afternoon? Why?

7. What does Mary notice about Colin's body as he lays sleeping in Robert and Caroline's apartment?

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

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

10. Describe the interactions between Mary and Colin while they ride the river taxi. How are these different than their earlier encounters?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

There are several turning points in the plot of this novel. Select two major turning points in the plot and discuss:

1) how the event is a turning point

2) how the story would be different if the event had gone in a different direction.

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

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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