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. Which of the following books did Lessing use to illustrate the difference in transitioning from the consciousness of a child to that of an adult?

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

3. In Chapter 3, which of the following does Lessing describe as her first memory?

4. What does Lessing say about memory?

5. Where did Lessing's family live before they found property?

Short Essay Questions

1. In Chapter 13, how did Lessing rationalize her decision to leave Frank and their two children?

2. In your opinion, why does Lessing trace her lineage in the opening chapter?

3. How did Lessing's parents plan to acquire land in Southern Rhodesia?

4. What challenges faced Lessing when she moved to Soho?

5. How did John react to the birth of his little sister?

6. What became of the three husbands who enlisted to fight Hitler?

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

8. What rationale did Lessing give for her marriage to Gottfried Lessing in Chapter 14?

9. What advantage does Lessing that claim she has in writing her autobiography late in her life?

10. Describe Lessing's decision to marry Frank Wisdom.

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

At the same time that Lessing wrote her autobiography, she critically engaged with the strengths and limitations of the form by recounting a valuable form of truth. Explore Lessing's commentary on the autobiography as a genre. What did she believe to be the value in writing her autobiography? What did Lessing perceive to be its limitation? How did exploring Lessing's perspective on the genre that she was using, illuminate the value of the text that resulted from that questioning? What did she ultimately offer her readers with regard to objectivity, subjectivity, or truth? How much more did you know about Lessing herself at the end of her work?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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