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 Arthur, who possesses "profound human goodness"?

2. According to Reta, what is there a sense of that runs throughout her main characters' story?

3. What does Norah accidentally find in the pocket of Christine's winter parka?

4. What has Reta attempted to talk about with her daughters regarding sex?

5. What two languages are spoken during Reta's childhood?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

5. 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"?

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

7. How are Reta's feelings about sex related to her writing about Alicia and Roman?

8. What is Reta's complaint in her letter to the editor of a literary magazine regarding one of its advertising pages?

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

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the significance of goodness in the novel as an idea and a catalyst for change, responding to the following questions:

1. What does the concept of goodness mean to Reta?

2. What does the concept of goodness mean to Norah?

3. What is the overall message of goodness as an idea in the novel?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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