Collected Fictions 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. In "The Man on the Threshold," why is Judge Glencairn sent to the location where he disappears?

2. In "Monk Eastman, Purveyor of Iniquities," Eastman does what after serving ten years in prison?

3. In "The Shape of the Sword," John Vincent Moon is a traitor to what ideology?

4. Thematically, "Pierre Menard, Author of Quixote" deals most closely with which of the following?

5. In "The Aleph," why does the narrator lie about the Aleph?

Short Essay Questions

1. In "The Wait," what does Villari do when his assassins actually show up? Why does he do this?

2. In "The Widow Ching--Pirate," Ching becomes a pirate, but does she have any virtuous qualities, even in this criminal profession?

3. In "The Library of Babel," the imaginary library of the title is an allusion to the Tower of Babel. How is this appropriate?

4. In "Man on the Pink Corner," why does Rosendo disappear and then come back when challenged by the Yardmaster?

5. In "The Secret Miracle," does Hladik really gain anything in the year of frozen time that God grants him?

6. In "Ibn-Hakam-Al Bokhari, Murdered in his Labyrinth," according to Unwin, why did Sa'id truly steal the treasure, and what are the implications of this motivation?

7. "The Two Kings and the Two Labyrinths" ends with the words, "Glory to Him who does not die." Who is the one "who does not die," and what is the reason for this invocation?

8. In "The Dead Man," why does Bandeira allow Otalora to sleep with his woman and enjoy a sense of power?

9. In "Emma Zunz," how does Emma exact revenge on Lowenthal for her father's death?

10. In "House of Asterion," is there anything sympathetic about Asterion?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Borges was deeply influenced by the stories of Edgar Allan Poe. This influence can especially be seen in the many stories that contain the supernatural and magic. Borges often inserted magic into otherwise realistic stories, a blend that is commonly called "magic realism." Using between one and three stories as evidence, describe magic realism in Borges. What does the insertion of magic into the ordinary achieve? Does it pierce further into reality, or does it discredit the stories as simple fantasy?

Essay Topic 2

Existentialism is a philosophy that holds that one makes his own meaning from a life that is essentially absurd and meaningless. Is Borges an Existentialist? Does his method of writing, with its ambiguous meanings, and multiple possibilities imply existentialism? Choose at least one and up to three stories to support your argument. Be specific.

Essay Topic 3

Labyrinths are included in many of Borges' stories. Indeed, "Labyrinths" is the title of one of his collections of stories. How are these physical structures significant to his work? Consider the essence of a labyrinth: a series of mazes, designed to confuse and entrap men. How do labyrinths fit into the stories themselves? How are labyrinths symbolic for Borges' artistic intentions? Be sure to cite specific stories in your answer.

(see the answer keys)

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