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 remained unaffected by the Lessings' existence for 20 years?

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

3. What social development occurred during Lessing's stay at the Convent which, much to the chagrin of the nuns, parents supported?

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

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

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. How did Lessing avoid dealing with her conflicts with her mother?

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

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

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

7. Describe the conflict between Lessing's parents regarding the servants.

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In this section of the autobiography, Lessing detailed her progression to sexual awakening and maturity. Analyze Lessing's developing notions on sexuality in that section of her life story. How did she view sexuality? How did her views differ from the majority of those in her community? How did Lessing derive those notions of sexuality? Provide details from the text.

Essay Topic 2

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 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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