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 "What Happened During the Ice Storm," animals are protected by being taken into the barn. One species of birds remains outside. What birds remain outside?

2. Who finishes cooking the breakfast?

3. The man compares the dialogue to running down the page like a rivulet of _____.

4. The mother warns that okra harbors which type of insect?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. Discuss the interview with "The Last Parakeet."

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

3. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"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 2

"Snapshot, Harvey Cedars: 1948" tells the tale of a woman's memories of her parents. The woman looks at a family photo fondly, remembering her dad's dreams of becoming a builder. The mother's body language is telling and unusual. Examine the mother's body language in the photo and the daughter's views. Do you think it is possible that the woman had some type of premonition or is the woman's body language a coincidence? If the woman had a premonition, do you think she was aware of it? Study the possibilities. Examine the daughter's thoughts regarding her father's suicide.

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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