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. Who does Reta mention by name in her letter of complaint about "Great Minds of the Western Intellectual World"?

2. According to Reta, what does she find "monstrous" in the face of Norah's absence?

3. What is the first subject Reta and her writer friends discuss at the Orange Blossom Room?

4. How old does Christine, Reta's daughter, turn in October?

5. What rationale does Reta offer about Norah's strange behavior in her letter to Valkner?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What is Reta's complaint in her letter to the editor of a literary magazine regarding one of its advertising pages?

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

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

5. What does Reta's husband Tom do for a living and how is it significant concerning Norah's absence?

6. How are Reta's feelings about sex related to her writing about Alicia and Roman?

7. Describe life in the Winters' household.

8. Why does Reta feel that normalcy is "monstrous?"

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

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How does Shields portray heroines in the novel? Respond to the following:

1. What characters can be regarded as tragic heroines?

2. Discuss Reta's ideas about heroines and heroism.

3. How are the heroines in the novel in opposition to society?

Essay Topic 2

What is the role of language in "Unless"? Identify and discuss the following relationships and its significance for the characters:

1. Language and identity.

2. Language and truth.

3. Language and power.

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the role of conflict in "Unless." Discuss Reta's conflict with society. Discuss Norah's conflict with society.

(see the answer keys)

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