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

2. Who is killed by the pumpkin truck?

3. How many dancing bears are on a tour?

4. In "Pendergrast's Daughter," what is the name of the girlfriend?

5. What kind of disease is contracted by the family cat?

Short Essay Questions

1. In "Fear: Four Examples," explain the main source of the man's fear regarding his daughter.

2. In "The Colonel," what is the situation with the men at dinner?

3. What is the main issue with Jimmy in the beginning of "Ponderosa?"

4. In "Here's Another Ending," discuss the actions of the owners of the dog and how they try to trick a neighbor.

5. What causes the woman to be upset in "Water?" What does the woman do?

6. Discuss the scene in the restaurant in "Deportation at Breakfast."

7. Why does the girl think the U.S. is being attacked by Russian missiles?

8. What happens to the babies in "The Parents?"

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

10. "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.

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

here are two poems that deal with trains: "Love Poems" and "The Burlington Northern, Southbound." Discuss the use of trains as imagery and how the inspire each author. Also discuss trains as a metaphor and how they are or are not appropriate to the stories. Research and find other poems using trains, e.g., Alan Ginsberg's "Sunflower Sutra," to compare and contrast. Which is the best use of a train as an inspiration and/or image?

Essay Topic 2

Franky Gorky may be "The Nicest Kid in the Universe," but Franky is none too bright. Write two short stories about a character like Franky, or perhaps yourself, who receives three wishes. One story will reflect wise choices using the three wishes, and the second story will reflect making foolish choices. Would it be hard to decide what to do with the wishes?

Essay Topic 3

"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?

(see the answer keys)

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