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. How are Reta and Danielle different?

2. Who does Reta go see after her encounter with Norah in early November?

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

4. What is the name of Reta's friend, a medical journalist who lives in Newfoundland?

5. What do Tom and the girls see as a contradiction about the American event they are fixated on?

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

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

4. What are Reta's feelings about Tom and their sexual relationship?

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

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

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

8. 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.

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

10. 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.

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the role of minor characters in the novel.

1. Identify three minor characters and their relationship to the major characters.

2. Describe these three minor characters' physical and psychological attributes. Are they flat or round?

Essay Topic 2

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

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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