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

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

3. What kind of world is Reta interested in creating for her characters?

4. In what point of view is Reta considering writing her novel?

5. What is the subject of the new book Tom is reading?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. How do Natalie and Christine attempt to give the impression that Norah's absence is part of a normal routine?

3. 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.

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

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

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

7. Why does the memory of shopping for the perfect scarf for Norah haunt Reta as a "big female secret" and what does the scarf represent?

8. 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"?

9. Describe Reta's peculiar behavior when she visits Norah in early November.

10. When does Reta's mind begin to wander and what does she think of during dinner with Tom's physicist friend, Colin Glass?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the plot and subplot of the novel, including the rising action, climax, and resolution for both.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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