Unless Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe Reta Winter's thoughts and feelings as the novel opens.

Reta is experiencing a period of profound loss and grief, which must be offset by counting her blessings, an exercise she finds repellent.

2. When does Reta's mind begin to wander and what does she think of during dinner with Tom's physicist friend, Colin Glass?

Reta's mind begins to wander after she thinks of Norah and the sign on her neck, which says Goodness. She begins to think of the possibility of her guest's coffee spilling, cloth napkins, Danielle Westerman, Pet, their golden retriever, and the state of Colin's marriage.

3. What attempt does Reta make to bribe her daughter Norah to come home when she visits her on her street corner and how successful is she?

Reta attempts to bribe Norah to come home by bringing her food and a picture of Pet. She thinks that they will remind Norah of the comfortable life she left behind. Reta fails in her attempt, as Norah refuses to look directly at her or speak to her.

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