Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays 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 reason does the narrator of "After Malison" give for smoking in the hotel lobby?

2. Which of the following was NOT in the file drawer labeled "POISON" in "Barrel Fever"?

3. Who is Timothy Speaks in "Season's Greetings..."?

4. What did the narrator's sister, Vicki aspire to be when she was younger? ("Jamboree")

5. What does Khe Sahn wear to Thanksgiving dinner in "Season's Greetings..."?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Dolph's confrontation with Alicia Cunningham in "Barrel Fever".

2. Describe Marty Jr.'s appearance in "Jamboree".

3. Who is Trudy Chase in "Barrel Fever"? How does the narrator react to a phone call from Trudy?

4. How does the narrator of "Diary of A Smoker" feel about smoking?

5. How does Jocelyn feel about her daughter's marriage to Timothy Speaks in "Season's Greetings..."? How does this compare to her feelings about her grandson, Don?

6. Describe the narrator's elf costume in "Santaland Diaries".

7. What story does Sedaris tell the little boy Riley when he throws a temper tantrum in "Santaland Diaries"?

8. How does the author feel about adults who dress in costumes for their jobs in "Santaland Diaries"? How does he believe he will be different if he is hired as one of Santa's elves?

9. What are the two reasons the narrator gives for boycotting Malison's reading in "After Malison"?

10. Describe Khe Sahn's arrival at the Dunbar home in "Season's Greetings to Our Friends and Family".

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In "Barrel Fever", David Sedaris offers a variety of wacky minor characters for the reader to enjoy. Select two of the following characters and compare and contrast them in an essay:

1) Taylor in "Firestone"

2) Aunt Margery in "We Get Along"

3) Marty in "Jamboree"

4) Gill in "Barrel Fever"

Essay Topic 2

In many of the stories in "Barrel Fever", Sedaris uses hyperbole (exaggeration) to make points. Select 3 of the stories in which the author uses hyperbole and:

1) describe the ways in which hyperbole is used in the stories,

2) compare and contrast the use of hyperbole in each story, and

3) discuss the impact of hyperbole on the reader's experience of the stories.

Be sure to use evidence from the stories to support your ideas.

Essay Topic 3

One of the themes in the collection of short stories "Barrel Fever" is that of reality versus fantasy. Select three of the stories dealing with this theme and:

1) explain what the story says about reality and fantasy, and

2) demonstrate how the theme is developed in the story.

Then explain what you think Sedaris' overall commentary on reality vs. fantasy is in the novel as a whole.

Be sure to use specific examples from the stories to support your ideas.

(see the answer keys)

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