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. What did Doris insist on having with her in the photograph for which she posed?

2. What made Lessing and her brother weep at the end of Chapter 5?

3. Which of the following organizations asked Lessing to write a play in the 1950's?

4. What type of play did Lessing write while at the Convent?

5. To which book did Lessing often compare her childhood?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does Lessing describe her childhood vulnerability?

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

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

5. What sensation predominated Lessing's childhood?

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

7. While their mother was bedridden, what did Lessing and her brother do?

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

9. In Chapter 8, how did the girls at the school avoid exams?

10. What essential skill did Lessing learn in Chapter 5?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

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

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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