Flash Fiction: Very Short Stories Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

James Thomas (professor)
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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 are the people complaining about in "From the Floodlands?"

2. Later, the mother tells her daughter that Mandy is also a _____.

3. What is the name of the girl's sister, who is a nun?

4. How many kids does the couple have?

5. The man served in which war?

Short Essay Questions

1. How do Karen and Konrad meet in "Roseville?" What event does the meeting prompt?

2. Why do the man and his young lover have such varying opinions on what they see in "Everything is Green?"

3. In "Nadine at 35: Synopsis," explain what Nadine does when her husband leaves her and why she allows him to come back.

4. In "Grace Period," what do you think is happening to the man witnessing the bright light?

5. Explain why Mr. Mumsford is so angry. What does the man intend to do? Why?

6. "The Father" discusses the birth of a new baby and the family resemblance. What opinions are voiced?

7. What common topic is discussed between the woman and the soldier in "Dish Night?"

8. Discuss the man's final decision in "Corporal."

9. In "Love Poems," a man is inspired to write a love poem to his mistress. It is the best poem the man has ever written. Discuss the man's work and what he does with it in the end.

10. Give some examples of the man's experiences in "Subtotals."

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

It is said that people have muscle memory from activities they have done before, even if it is something that occurred long ago. This brings about the old saying, "It's just like riding a bike." Discuss the dancing bears in "Brilliant Silence." Do you think muscle memory applies to the bears' descendants? Is it possible? Is there some genetic marker that causes the young bears to dance? Is it simply learned behavior? If it is learned behavior, how and why are the young bears affected by the full moon?

Essay Topic 2

"Fingers" is a strange tale about a woman that must subdue her kitchen before every evening meal. Discuss the author's format and style as well as possible inspiration for the story. What about the kitchen and its utensils and appliances that cause the compulsion to destroy and/or hurt oneself? What other compulsions, if any, are present? What is the gory outcome of the story? How will it change the nightly kitchen ritual?

Essay Topic 3

"Bread" discusses the fact that while many of us eat bread, there are many people that are starving and could benefit from the bread we take for granted. Who decides who should eat and who should starve? Should people curb what they eat in order to provide food for people half way around the world? Is there an impact on those people decided by what we eat? How does supply and demand fit into the picture? Explain.

(see the answer keys)

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