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. in "The Paring Knife," how long had the knife been under the refrigerator?

2. The woman teaches her daughter how to ___ without getting hit.

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

4. What is the name of the soldier in "Stockings?"

5. in "Snapshot, Harvey Cedars: 1948," a girl looks at a picture of her parents. What was the father's dream profession?

Short Essay Questions

1. Discuss the life of the young girl in "The Restraints."

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

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

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

5. Discuss what might happen after the owner finds the dead rabbit in "Here's Another Ending."

6. In "Here's Another Ending," discuss the actions of the owners of the dog and how they try to trick a neighbor.

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

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

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

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

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

A man desires to read his novel in "The Continuity of Parks." What about the novel has the man so intent on reading it? How does a person become so involved in a fantasy world that he becomes oblivious to everything around him? Is it a form of entertainment or escapism? Compare and contrast entertainment and escapism. Give examples of each as well as examples where both may apply.

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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