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. According to Reta, what are women still dismissed and excluded from?

2. How does Reta approach Norah when she visits her in early November?

3. Why does Reta write a check to the hostel each month?

4. Who is Reta's mentor?

5. Who suddenly dies at Scribano & Lawrence?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How does the staff's response at the hostel regarding Norah's gloves indicate her invisibility as a street person?

3. As Reta and Arthur have their heated discussion, what three things happen that interrupt them that provide comic relief to the serious conversation?

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

5. Why does Reta sign her letter to Dennis Ford-Halpern, "Yours, Rita Orange d'Ville"?

6. Why don't the Winters' want to discuss the fact that Norah probably gave her Christmas package away?

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

8. Describe Reta and Lois's relationship.

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

10. What rationale does Reta offer about the importance of novels despite moral injustice in the world?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the tone of "Unless," responding to the following questions:

1. How does the tone of the novel exemplify the emotional state of the characters?

2. Does the tone shift or change throughout the novel? Where and how?

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 Shields' portrayal of the media in the novel, responding to the following questions:

1. What role does the media have in advancing the plot?

2. What is Reta's relationship to the media?

3. Is it an amicable or hostile relationship and why?

(see the answer keys)

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