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. In the short story that Reta writes her letter about, what does the Czech professor see in the medical supply shop that disgusts him?

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

3. According to Lois, who makes fun of the list in her recipe box?

4. What question about Norah does Lois Winters ask every night at dinner?

5. In her letter about the obituary in the Globe and Mail, what kind of days does Reta write that she is going through?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. When Tom calls to inform Reta that Norah is in the hospital, how does the point of view change in the novel?

3. Why does Arthur Springer call one day after Christmas and what is Reta's response?

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

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

6. Why is Lois's conversation with Arthur when she comes over to investigate about dinner significant?

7. How does Emma, Reta's journalist friend, try to comfort her and how is it significant?

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

9. As Reta and Arthur have their heated discussion, what three things happen that interrupt them that provide comic relief to the serious conversation?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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

1. What responsibilities do family members share?

2. Does Shields portray the Winters family as being functional or dysfunctional?

3. How are the Winters family members treated?

4. Who is accepted as a family member and who is not?

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

As a novel, "Unless" functions as a mystery. As such, there are clues provided to lead the reader in many directions. What are some true and false leads surrounding Norah's disappearance? How does Shields utilize flashbacks and dialogue to create suspension in the novel?

(see the answer keys)

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