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. Who does Reta meet for lunch after a radio interview in Baltimore?

2. Why does Norah enroll at the University of Toronto?

3. What do Reta, Tom, Christine, and Natalie do in the car in Toronto?

4. According to Reta, what are women still dismissed and excluded from?

5. Who is Reta's mentor?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What does Reta's husband Tom do for a living and how is it significant concerning Norah's absence?

3. Describe the response of the Winters' family to seeing the hostel where Norah stays and its significance.

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

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

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

7. 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.

8. 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?

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

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

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

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?

Essay Topic 3

In the novel, marriage is portrayed as a complicated and sometimes fraught union between two people. How does Shields characterize Reta and Tom's marriage? Does she portray them as happily married? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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