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 is the name of the man's wife?

2. In "The Corporal," a young man is determined to collect which item?

3. What item does the woman have difficulty throwing away?

4. Which facial feature is referenced by the grandmother?

5. How many years has the couple been married?

Short Essay Questions

1. What temporarily dissuades the couple from making love in "True Love?"

2. Discuss the meaning behind the man's action in "Fingers."

3. Explain the actions of the bears in Chile in "Brilliant Silence." Why do the bears act this way?

4. "The Appalachian Trail" reflects the story of a wife determined to hike the 2,000 mile trail. Discuss the husband's reaction to the trip.

5. In "Mandy Shupe," a mother tells her young daughter about Mandy Shupe, a Mennonite woman who goes a bit wild. The basic story is told and the mother's purpose for the parable as well as the grown up daughter's reaction explained.

6. What causes the stones to become fearful? What is a distinction of stones?

7. What causes the car accident in "Pumpkins?"

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

9. Why does the girlfriend refuse to return her would-be husband's phone calls?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"The Last Parakeet" is a fanciful story about a Brazilian parakeet that has turned itself in and is prepared to tell its life story. Create a script for the parakeet's interview on national television. Ensure that the script is ten minutes in length. What types of questions might the interviewer ask the parakeet? What might the parakeet say regarding his unusual position? What questions would you ask the parakeet if you had the opportunity?

Essay Topic 2

"Flash Fiction: Very Short Stories by James Thomas" is a collection of stories designed to be so short that they cannot be claimed as short fiction or sudden fiction. Compare and contrast the three types of stories. Also compare them to a short story and novella.

Essay Topic 3

In "The Restraints," a girl is taken to a tavern by her father. Discuss in detail the psychological implications of the father's actions. Does the father know what he is doing is wrong? How does it affect the girl as a small child? In what ways does the girl suffer? How do other people see the girl? Can the man's actions be construed as child abuse? Define child abuse and relate it to the story.

(see the answer keys)

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