|Name: _________________________||Period: ___________________|
This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.
Short Answer Questions
1. During lunch, why is Danielle disappointed with Reta's decision to write another novel?
2. In the short story that Reta writes her letter about, what does the Czech professor see in the medical supply shop that disgusts him?
3. What does Norah use to try and put out the flames from the woman's fire?
4. According to Reta, what is "full of isolated events"?
5. In the cemetery, what is the inscription beneath Mary Leland's name on her headstone?
Short Essay Questions
1. According to Gemma Walsh, Reta's friend who has been appointed Chair of Theology, the Christian faith is balance on the words "already" and "not yet." Why does Reta find this significant?
2. What issue does Reta take with Emily Helt's book review in the Chicago Tribune?
3. At the end of the novel, what do we learn about the reason for Norah's disappearance and subsequent homelessness?
4. Describe Reta and Lois's relationship.
5. What is Reta's central point in her letter to Helt?
6. Why does Reta feel that Arthur's suggestion to focus on Roman instead of Alicia is an egregious one?
7. When Reta and Tom consult a psychiatrist about Norah, what does he tell them and how do they respond?
8. Why does Arthur Springer call one day after Christmas and what is Reta's response?
9. Why is Lois's conversation with Arthur when she comes over to investigate about dinner significant?
10. What rationale does Reta offer about the importance of novels despite moral injustice in the world?
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
Discuss the tone of "Unless," responding to the following questions:
1. How does the tone of the novel exemplify the emotional state of the characters?
2. Does the tone shift or change throughout the novel? Where and how?
Essay Topic 3
Discuss grief as a major theme of the novel, especially the expression of suffering, responding to the following questions:
1. How does Reta cope with her grief?
2. How are Norah's actions a manifestation of grief?
3. What is the relationship between memory and grief?
This section contains 819 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)