Flash Fiction: Very Short Stories Test | Final 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 friend?

2. in "Vines," a man worries about which of the following?

3. Where does the man find the woman in "Space?"

4. What is the name of the husband in "The Factory?"

5. What type of animal is found and fed in the sewer?

Short Essay Questions

1. What holiday tragedy happens to Franky Gorky in "The Nicest Kid in the Universe?"

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

3. Vines: Discuss the man's main issue in "Vines" and what he says to his wife. How does the wife respond?

4. What is the thing that seems to bother the woman most in "The Haircut?"

5. Why was the man so distraught in "The Paring Knife?"

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

7. What realization does the widow come to in regards to her missing husband?

8. What does Henry Dobbins use as a way of protecting himself while at war? What happens that might change the talisman?

9. What happens when Louise finds Teddy on the floor in "Teddy's Canary?"

10. In "The Cage," a man is trapped with no way to get free under his own power. Explain what happens that what it might mean.

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

"Flash Fiction: Very Short Stories by James Thomas" contains many stories by many different authors. The only criterion is that the story must meet a certain word count, typically around 750 but no more than 1,000. Examine any common threads that are found within the collection. Are there any similar trains of thought, style or format? Review each story with those things in mind and make a list of connecting ties.

Essay Topic 3

"Ice Storm" is a telling story about boys that resist the urge to kill blinded pheasants during a particularly nasty winter storm. What happens to the animals during the storm? Why are the pheasants blinded? What about the boys makes them want to capture, harm or kill the birds? What causes the boys to rethink their motives and protect the birds from freezing to death? Examine a person's nature to protect versus kill.

(see the answer keys)

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