The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories Short Essay - Answer Key

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Short Essay Questions Key

1. Who are the main characters in River of Names, and how are they different from each other?

The narrator comes from a large dysfunctional family in which people die more often than they live. She is tortured by memories of her extended family, violence and death. Her lover, Jesse, comes from a solid family, her father teaches at a university. She is gentle and admires her lover for her ability with words and storytelling.

2. In the story All the Way in Flagstaff, Arizona, what does Walter keep hidden in the wheel well of the spare tire in the car? Why?

Walter keeps a bottle of whiskey in the trunk of the car believing his wife does not know about it. Walter is an alcoholic who is promising not to drink, but sneaks to the car to drink the whiskey when he believes no one is looking.

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