Unless 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 prize did Reta's novel, "My Thyme is Up," win the previous year?

2. What present does Reta get for Norah's seventeenth birthday while on a book tour in D.C.?

3. Why does Arthur ask Reta to send him a draft?

4. What two languages are spoken during Reta's childhood?

5. Who suddenly dies at Scribano & Lawrence?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe the response of the Winters' family to seeing the hostel where Norah stays and its significance.

2. Why does Norah make the sarcastic observation in her letter to Alexander Valkner that he must have suffered from extreme fatigue when he thought of his list of "literary big cats"?

3. Why is Reta reluctant to give Arthur Springer a first draft of her novel, and what does it reveal about her writing?

4. How does the American election results in Florida that Tom, Christine, and Natalie watch relate to Norah's absence?

5. How does Reta respond to the death of Mr. Scribano and how is it significant?

6. Why do Reta and her writer friends at the Orange Blossom Room conclude that the concepts of goodness and greatness are incompatible for women?

7. Why does Danielle believe that Norah has embraced her powerlessness in society by living as a homeless person?

8. What does Reta do each month that indicates her attempt to live up to an idea of "goodness?"

9. According to Ben, how has Norah changed in the few weeks prior to her disappearance?

10. During Norah's visit from university the previous year, Reta states that she knew how "wildly out control" Norah was, how "she'd become dangerous to her own being." Describe why Reta comes to this conclusion.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss grief as a major theme of the novel, especially the expression of suffering, responding to the following questions:

1. How does Reta cope with her grief?

2. How are Norah's actions a manifestation of grief?

3. What is the relationship between memory and grief?

Essay Topic 2

In the novel, marriage is portrayed as a complicated and sometimes fraught union between two people. How does Shields characterize Reta and Tom's marriage? Does she portray them as happily married? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the role that faith plays in the novel. What are the differences between personal and religious faith? Discuss Reta's views on faith.

(see the answer keys)

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