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 kind of dog is mentioned in "Here's Another Ending?"

2. How does the father eventually die?

3. How many times does the man let the phone ring as a signal to his wife?

4. What is the name of the girlfriend in "The Burlington Northern, Southbound?"

5. One of the roommates thinks he should read about which war?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Emily feel invisible in "Offerings?" What does Emily do after she collects a large number of apologies?

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

3. Discuss the odd behavior in the town described in "A Chronicler's Sin."

4. Discuss Jane's attitude in "Jane." What does Jane do instead of follow her parents' orders?

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

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

7. "Here" describes a neighborhood in which everyone is friendly but does not socialize. Describe the neighborhood.

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

9. Who is "The Philosophical Cobbler?" What is his main concern and goal?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"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.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

In "The Stones," the old stones have chosen to forget about or cease to talk about their adventures as young stones. Discuss in detail the behavior of the old stones versus the young stones. How have the old stones changed? What is the opinion of the young stones regarding their elders? Compare the attitudes of the old and young stones to grandparents, parents and children. What are the similarities? Does the story help to change your outlook on the opinions and advice of your elders? Explain.

(see the answer keys)

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