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. According to the quote at the opening of Chapter 1, the girl in Lessing's mother's favorite saying only cared about which of the following?

2. What stove brand did Lessing's family use?

3. How many bouts of illness did Lessing's family experience?

4. How was Aunt Betty Cleverly like most women of her generation?

5. In Chapter 2, what is one thing that Lessing says the writer must have in order to begin to write about his/her life?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. From the details Lessing provides in Chapter 1, describe the circumstances which led to Maude's broken heart.

4. Describe Lessing's father's medical condition in this chapter.

5. How did Lessing become an atheist?

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

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

8. Quoting a recent historian, to what major event does Lessing attribute current feelings of mistrust toward the government?

9. What sensation predominated Lessing's childhood?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Born during the final days of the British Empire, Doris Lessing presents a unique take on the Empire and imperial policy. Discuss Lessing's developing views on the Empire. Explore themes such as the ethics of the Empire, the financial ramifications of the Empire, and the social changes that she discusses after the fall of the Empire. What does her overall message regarding British imperialism appear to be? Support your answers with evidence from the autobiography.

Essay Topic 2

World Wars I and II played a significant role in Lessing's autobiography. Analyze the way in which she grappled with the Wars as historical events; and the repercussions that Europe and the rest of the world faced as a result of those conflicts. How did Lessing portray those effects in the autobiography? How did the Wars differ from other conflicts before them? What was Lessing's opinion regarding those Wars in particular; and the practice of war in general? What reasons did she give for her views on war?

Essay Topic 3

In a memoir that spans three continents over the course of the author's life, space and place become particularly significant to the story and to Lessing's overall commentary. Examine the way in which she treats various spaces and places in the text. What themes, messages, or ideas does Lessing develop through her treatment of spaces and places? How does she portray those spaces and places? Be sure to consider limited spaces such as the various houses that Lessing recalls, and places as broad as the countries she lived in, to the various cities or communities where she resided.

(see the answer keys)

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