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. Why does Reta become angry at the male author being interviewed on the literary television show?

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

3. According to Reta, what is NOT a romance with impossibly beautiful people?

4. Who does Reta meet for lunch after a radio interview in Baltimore?

5. What problem does Reta initially attribute Norah's disappearance to when she first goes missing?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Reta initially think Norah's problems may have stemmed from her relationship with Ben Abbot?

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

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

4. 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?

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

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

7. Describe Reta's feelings about the formation of her inner dialogue, the "longest conversation" that goes on in a lifetime in a person's mind.

8. What are Reta's feelings about Tom and their sexual relationship?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the role of setting in the novel, responding to the following questions:

1. What facts about the city of Toronto relate directly or indirectly to the lives of the characters?

2. What facts about the time in which the novel is set, 2000-2001, relate directly or indirectly to the novel's themes and overall meaning?

Essay Topic 2

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

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the role of family in the novel, responding to the following questions:

1. What responsibilities do family members share?

2. Does Shields portray the Winters family as being functional or dysfunctional?

3. How are the Winters family members treated?

4. Who is accepted as a family member and who is not?

(see the answer keys)

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