Unless Test | Final 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 think that novel writing is perhaps a pointless exercise?

2. Why does Reta have difficulty carrying on a conversation with Arthur when he comes o her home for the first time?

3. Why is Reta alarmed by the sight of Norah's hands?

4. What does Arthur consider the last chapter in Reta's novel to be?

5. What list does Lois have arranged in alphabetical order in her recipe box?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does an older friend of Reta's advise her to read obituaries as a young writer?

2. What rationale does Reta offer about the importance of novels despite moral injustice in the world?

3. How does Arthur feel about Roman, the other main character in Reta's novel?

4. How does the staff's response at the hostel regarding Norah's gloves indicate her invisibility as a street person?

5. In her letter about the death of Peter Harding, how does Reta compare herself to Norah?

6. What does Reta notice on Norah's wrists that cause Tom to forget his trilobites and research stress and trauma?

7. Why does Reta feel that Arthur's suggestion to focus on Roman instead of Alicia is an egregious one?

8. In her letter to Russell Sandor, Reta states that she fears nothing. Why does she feel this way and how does she prove it in her letter?

9. When Reta and Tom consult a psychiatrist about Norah, what does he tell them and how do they respond?

10. What is Reta's central point in her letter to Helt?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the plot and subplot of the novel, including the rising action, climax, and resolution for both.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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