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. The man ends up with a broken ____ and a bloody wound.

2. In "Subtotals," a man is obsessed with which of the following?

3. One of the cats ruins which item?

4. The bears are touring what country?

5. In "The Appalachian Trail," a woman has decided to hike the ______ mile length of the trail.

Short Essay Questions

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

2. In "Vision Out of the Corner of One Eye" tells the story of two people on a train. What happens between the man and woman?

3. How does the therapist behave in an unprofessional manner?

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

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

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

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

9. Discuss the attitude of the man in "Wedding Night."

10. "A Public Denial" tells a somewhat humorous story about a man trying to clear his deceased grandfather's name. What killed the old man?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following 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

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.

Essay Topic 3

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.

(see the answer keys)

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