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 Arthur tell Reta the day after Christmas that it is urgent that she come to New York?

2. What is the woman who sets herself on fire outside of Honest Ed's wearing?

3. Whose obituary does Reta read in the Globe and Mail?

4. Why has Danielle deleted her early life and reinvented herself?

5. In her letter about the obituary in the Globe and Mail, what does Reta state she has missed out on?

Short Essay Questions

1. How do the meetings with her friends at the Orange Blossom Room ground Reta in reality?

2. Why does Reta make an exception in sending her letter to Russell Sandor, a short story writer?

3. What does Reta and Tom's walk in Orangetown cemetery represent?

4. According to Reta, what is the "worry word" of life and why is it significant?

5. What is Lois's true opinion of what happened to Norah that she is afraid to express?

6. What is Reta's impression of Arthur Springer when she finally meets him at her home in January and how do they get into a heated discussion?

7. Why does Reta sign her letter to Dennis Ford-Halpern, "Yours, Rita Orange d'Ville"?

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

9. Describe Reta and Lois's relationship.

10. Why don't the Winters' want to discuss the fact that Norah probably gave her Christmas package away?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

Shields uses the first-person point of view to show Reta's thoughts and actions, though the focus of the novel is the mystery of Norah's disappearance and subsequent homelessness. Respond to the following questions:

1. Why do you think Shields chose the first-person instead of third-person ("she")?

2. How would the novel be different if the story was told from Norah's point of view?

3. Since the first-person is a limited perspective, how would using an omniscient point of view change the tone or meaning of the novel?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the role of writing in the novel, responding to the following questions:

1. What is the function of Reta's writing in portraying her ideas about the world?

2. Do Reta's novels and letters serve the same purpose? Why or why not?

3. How does Danielle's writing compare with Reta's in terms of its significance?

(see the answer keys)

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