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. What is the name of the hospital that Norah is in?

2. How does Reta sign her letter to Ford-Halpern?

3. Who tells Reta and Tom that "Vagrancy can be thoughtful or careless; she has chosen the latter"?

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

5. Why do Christine and Natalie think something terrible must have happened to Norah?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the role of conflict in "Unless." Discuss Reta's conflict with society. Discuss Norah's conflict with 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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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