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

2. What does Reta discover behind the furnace that belonged to the previous owners?

3. What subjects are Christine and Natalie studying for their exams?

4. Why does Reta decide not to attend the funeral for the person at Scribano & Lawrence?

5. What days does Reta drive to Toronto to see Norah?

Short Essay Questions

1. When Tom calls to inform Reta that Norah is in the hospital, how does the point of view change in the novel?

2. Why does Arthur Springer call one day after Christmas and what is Reta's response?

3. Describe life in the Winters' household.

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

5. At the hospital, what does Natalie reveal about the injuries to Norah's hands?

6. When Reta and Tom consult a psychiatrist about Norah, what does he tell them and how do they respond?

7. What does Reta notice on Norah's wrists that cause Tom to forget his trilobites and research stress and trauma?

8. What issue does Reta take with Emily Helt's book review in the Chicago Tribune?

9. Why does Reta wake up with anxiety about cleaning her house?

10. According to Reta, why is goodness not a guaranteed virtue?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Shields uses the first-person point of view to show Reta's thoughts and actions, though the focus of the novel is the mystery of Norah's disappearance and subsequent homelessness. Respond to the following questions:

1. Why do you think Shields chose the first-person instead of third-person ("she")?

2. How would the novel be different if the story was told from Norah's point of view?

3. Since the first-person is a limited perspective, how would using an omniscient point of view change the tone or meaning of the novel?

Essay Topic 2

In the novel, Reta has several flashbacks about Norah in the weeks before her disappearance. Choose three memories and discuss what they reveal about Reta, Norah, and the nature of their relationship.

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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