Under My Skin 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. Where did Lessing's family live before they found property?

2. Where did Lessing's father work after he was discharged from the Army?

3. What type of animals frequently made their way into the Tayler house?

4. How many trek oxen hauled the wagon carrying Lessing's family?

5. What did Lessing's father think of his Persian business partners?

Short Essay Questions

1. According to Lessing's memory, how did she learn to interact with people around her?

2. In Chapter 7, what did Lessing and her brother do in the bush?

3. Describe Lessing's outlook on the future of the world and human society.

4. Describe the circumstances that led to Alfred's depression.

5. How did Lessing become an atheist?

6. How did Lessing's mother explain the bout of illness that kept her confined to bed?

7. In Chapter 6, what was Lessing's mother's primary concern about the children?

8. What did Lessing do one night when she was forced to remain in the cabin while her parents attended a dance?

9. How does Lessing describe her childhood vulnerability?

10. According to Lessing in Chapter 2, what is the role of truth in autobiographical writing?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Explore and discuss the way in which Lessing deals with mental illness in her autobiography. How did she approach the issue of mental illness? How did she treat the people whom she mentioned within her autobiography who suffered from mental illness? Was she sympathetic? Compassionate? Understanding? What effect did mental illness have on her life? How might that effect, if any, explain or illuminate her position on mental illness?

Essay Topic 2

After her experiences of living in Persia and Southern Rhodesia, Lessing formulated an opinion on "The Native Problem" - the dilemma that the English settlers in various Commonwealth holdings experienced in interacting with the people whose lands they occupied. Discuss Lessing's position on "The Native Problem". How did Lessing feel about that particular issue? How did her opinion compare to the opinions of her contemporaries? What was the underlying reasoning for her beliefs? Was she justified in her opinion?

Essay Topic 3

During her young adult years, Lessing becomes affiliated with the Communist Party of Southern Rhodesia - at the time, considered a very political party for a young British woman to join. Discuss Lessing's initial feelings regarding the Communist Party, as well as the changes that occurred to that opinion during the rise and fall of the Soviet Union. What was Lessing's political stance at the time of her autobiography? How does she comment on the ideals and implementation of Socialism or Communism? How would instituting a Communist government in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) have been different than instituting a Communist government in Europe?

(see the answer keys)

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