American Short Story Masterpieces Test | Mid-Book 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. How long does Mrs. Webster work for Carlyle before he notes a distinct change in his life?

2. What were the doctors who took Sean's father away carrying?

3. In the story "Weekend," what did George do for a living before retiring?

4. How does Willi react when he hears his father beating his mother at night?

5. Who stands up for Willi Varig when he is too drunk to address the audience at the convention he had been hired to speak at?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Pendleton react to the newcomer in his restaurant in the story "The Fisherman From Chihuahua"?

2. What is Carlyle's life like at the opening of the story "Fever"?

3. What reaction does the narrator have when watching Sonny play his music in the story "Sonny's Blues"?

4. How does Eileen react to the news of Carlyle's illness in the story "Fever"?

5. Why doesn't Push like John Williams, and what does he do about it?

6. What type of relationship does Carlyle form with Mrs. Webster in the story "Fever"?

7. What memory does Sean have of his father from when he was a 6 year old boy in the story "Midair"?

8. What type of relationship does George have with his ex-students?

9. What unfortunate site does Willi witness in the story of the same name, and how does the young boy react to what he's seen?

10. Why has Earl taken to the road in "Rock Springs" and who does he take with him?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

The story "Talk of Heroes" is the tale of wars, both personal and literal. Choose one character from this story who fought in a literal war and describe what happened to this character as a result of their experiences. Compare those experiences to the experiences of a character who fought in a personal war. What comparison do you think the author is trying to make about battles (either real or figurative) in one's personal life. Which is more dangerous? Which has disastrous effects? How can you tell? Be sure to include examples from the text that you believe help strengthen your arguments.

Essay Topic 2

"Water Liars" expresses the relationship between truth and story telling. Choose one of the stories that the men told on Farte's Pier and express whether or not you believe the story to be true and why. Why do the men on the pier continue to tell the story? What message is sent to the reader about the value of truth, or lack thereof, in a good story? How do the stories told at Farte's Pier help the narrator cope with his personal problems? Be sure to include examples from the text that you believe strengthen your arguments.

Essay Topic 3

In the story "Fever," Carlyle has three main women in his life who play a part in helping him heal from his "sickness." Describe the sickness that Carlyle suffers from in his story. Choose two of the important women in his life and describe their role in helping him heal. What is the same about their methods of care? What is different? Describe how Carlyle emerged from his sickness, and what he learned about his life and relationships while he was ill. Be sure to include examples from the text that you believe strengthen your arguments.

(see the answer keys)

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