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. How did the couple meet in "232-9979?"

2. What is the man's profession?

3. What dried human body part does the Colonel pull out of a sack?

4. What is the name of the man's wife?

5. How many years has the couple been married?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. What is the accident that injures Jimmy? What happens after the accident?

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

4. In "The One Sitting There," a woman has difficulty cleaning out her refrigerator. What is the problem?

5. How does the woman intend to trick her boyfriend in "I Get Smart?"

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"Corners" is a story about three sisters, Mildred, Marie, and Jessie. Marie dies. Examine the process each sister must go through to come to terms with Marie's death. Who is the eldest sister? How does each handle Marie's death? Explain how Jessie's behavior is colored by jealousy as much as grief. Also examine how Mildred tries to cheer Jessie. Discuss sibling rivalry.

Essay Topic 2

A couple argues incessantly in "Blackberries." Why does the couple argue? Study the couple's dynamic to understand why they argue constantly. Are the issues they argue about important? Does the couple argue simply to argue? What can be done to change the couple's dynamic? Can the couple's relationship possibly be healthy? Also investigate how two people can argue without being hurtful, e.g., using "I" statements.

Essay Topic 3

In "Ponderosa," Jimmy is unhappy. Jimmy has been cheating on his wife although he denies it to his wife and father, who is a minister. The father tries to talk to Jimmy, but to no avail. Through an accident, Jimmy has half of his jaw shot off. The father sees it as divine intervention. Discuss Jimmy's predicament. Why does Jimmy continue to see his mistress if he is unhappy? What kind of upbringing did Jimmy have as the son of a minister? Does the father really believe that Jimmy's "accident" was divine intervention? Does Jimmy believe it? How does the accident affect Jimmy's life? Discuss the story from both sides. Also discuss what might have happened if Jimmy had not been shot.

(see the answer keys)

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