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. Although the boy is the nicest kid in the universe, he is not very ______.

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 the soldier in "Stockings?"

4. What is the chef cooking when he is arrested?

5. What type of music is often played by the roommates?

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"Fingers" is a strange tale about a woman that must subdue her kitchen before every evening meal. Discuss the author's format and style as well as possible inspiration for the story. What about the kitchen and its utensils and appliances that cause the compulsion to destroy and/or hurt oneself? What other compulsions, if any, are present? What is the gory outcome of the story? How will it change the nightly kitchen ritual?

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

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?

(see the answer keys)

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