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

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

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

4. What does Tom think Norah might be suffering from?

5. What does Arthur consider the last chapter in Reta's novel to be?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. According to Reta, why is goodness not a guaranteed virtue?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the novel, marriage is portrayed as a complicated and sometimes fraught union between two people. How does Shields characterize Reta and Tom's marriage? Does she portray them as happily married? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Discuss the significance of goodness in the novel as an idea and a catalyst for change, responding to the following questions:

1. What does the concept of goodness mean to Reta?

2. What does the concept of goodness mean to Norah?

3. What is the overall message of goodness as an idea in the novel?

(see the answer keys)

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