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 are the two main characters' names in the sequel to Reta's first novel?

2. According to Ben, Norah had become uncharacteristically __________ and __________ in the few weeks prior to her disappearance.

3. What does Reta immerse herself in despite her continuing grief?

4. Why does Reta write a letter of complaint to an editor of a literary magazine about a series of books called "Great Minds of the Western Intellectual World"?

5. Who suddenly dies at Scribano & Lawrence?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. What does Reta do each month that indicates her attempt to live up to an idea of "goodness?"

5. Why does Arthur love Alicia as a character and why is it significant?

6. During Norah's visit from university the previous year, Reta states that she knew how "wildly out control" Norah was, how "she'd become dangerous to her own being." Describe why Reta comes to this conclusion.

7. Why is Reta reluctant to give Arthur Springer a first draft of her novel, and what does it reveal about her writing?

8. Describe Norah's thoughts about the two main characters in her novel, and why they are significant.

9. What are some concerns Reta has in creating her fictional character Alicia, and how are they significant?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Healing, both physical and psychological, is significant to the characters' recovery in the novel. Identify the ways in which the Winters family heals from the stress and trauma over the past year.

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss grief as a major theme of the novel, especially the expression of suffering, responding to the following questions:

1. How does Reta cope with her grief?

2. How are Norah's actions a manifestation of grief?

3. What is the relationship between memory and grief?

(see the answer keys)

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