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. To which of the following religions did Lessing suddenly convert?

2. What was Lessing's name for her outward personality?

3. When did Lessing experiment with drugs?

4. How did Lessing's mother pack differently for her new life in Africa than she did for Persia?

5. According to Lessing, where do most of the good biographers live?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. In Chapter 3, what type of child abuse does Lessing describe?

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

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

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

7. Describe the English views of themselves and their relation to other people as Lessing portrays it in this chapter.

8. What did Lessing suspect was the root of her mother's illness?

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

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

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

History plays a key role in forming the text of the autobiography. Examine the ways in which Lessing relied on, recounted, or challenged history in the text. How central was history in Lessing's understanding of her own life? How essential was Lessing's life in her understanding of history? Were those two elements inextricably linked? What did Lessing's autobiography contribute to your understanding of history, understanding of historical events, or the way in which history is recorded?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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