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 Springer call Reta the day after Christmas?

2. When Reta leaves Arthur in the house by himself to go to the hospital, what does he do?

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

4. Who lost her own son to a heroin overdose?

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

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

3. 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?

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

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

6. At the end of the novel, what do we learn about the reason for Norah's disappearance and subsequent homelessness?

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

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

9. At the hospital, what does Natalie reveal about the injuries to Norah's hands?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

How does Shields portray heroines in the novel? Respond to the following:

1. What characters can be regarded as tragic heroines?

2. Discuss Reta's ideas about heroines and heroism.

3. How are the heroines in the novel in opposition to society?

Essay Topic 2

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?

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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