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. Music from what famous musician is playing in the beginning of "The Sewers of Salt Lake?"

2. What word does the man use to describe the drama regarding the hero and heroine of the story?

3. What is the name of Jane's sister?

4. What is the name of the main female character in "Offerings?"

5. Who interviews the widow?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

6. The author of "Bread" questions if anyone should eat bread. Why?

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

8. Discuss the interruptions faced by the man in "The Continuity of Parks."

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

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

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

"The Last Parakeet" is a fanciful story about a Brazilian parakeet that has turned itself in and is prepared to tell its life story. Create a script for the parakeet's interview on national television. Ensure that the script is ten minutes in length. What types of questions might the interviewer ask the parakeet? What might the parakeet say regarding his unusual position? What questions would you ask the parakeet if you had the opportunity?

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