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. Why does Reta attend a series of interviews in September?

2. According to Reta, young adults live in an age of prolonged _________and protracted__________.

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

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. Why does Norah enroll at the University of Toronto?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Describe life in the Winters' household.

4. How does Reta respond to the death of Mr. Scribano and how is it significant?

5. Why does Danielle believe that Norah has embraced her powerlessness in society by living as a homeless person?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How does Shields portray heroines in the novel? Respond to the following:

1. What characters can be regarded as tragic heroines?

2. Discuss Reta's ideas about heroines and heroism.

3. How are the heroines in the novel in opposition to society?

Essay Topic 2

Another major theme in the novel is the issue of homelessness and its consequences for the people affected by it.

1. Identify some preconceptions about homelessness that are disproved by the characters' actions.

2. What is Shields' overall message about people who are homeless?

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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