The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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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 Cathedral, who is Robert?

2. How does the protagonist in Tall Tales from the Mekong Deltareact when Lenny shows up at her house unannounced?

3. Who is Louise's close friend in college?

4. What do Robert and the husband end up doing at the end of the television show?

5. Who is Little Duke?

Short Essay Questions

1. In the story The First Day, where are the mother and child going at the opening of the story? Why is this an important day?

2. In the story Wickedness, what happens in Nebraska on the twelfth of January, 1888? How does this affect the townspeople?

3. In the story Cathedral, who is Robert and how does he enter the story?

4. What picture do the narrator of Catherdraland Robert draw and why?

5. In A Romantic Weekend, how long do Beth and her companion stay in Washington,D.C. and how do they return home? Why did they actually make the trip?

6. In the story The Fat Girl,When Louise examines herself in a mirror, what parts of her body does she like? What parts does she hate?

7. Where do the narrator of Emergency and his friend Georgie work and for how long? What do they do there?

8. How does Dzia-Dzia describe Chopin's death?

9. In the story Minor Heroism, who is Bryan, and what about him bothers his father?

10. Who is Hattie Benedict in Wickedness, and how does she survive the blizzard?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In his story The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien differentials between the physical things the soldiers carried on their backs and those they carry in their hearts and minds. Contrast and compare the physical and emotional things the men carried and how each affect a soldier.

Essay Topic 2

In the story Dog Heaven, the author has created two children and a dog who live in a work of adults involved in the military. The narrator therefore focuses the story on the elements of childhood most recognized by people growing up. Discuss three of those elements and how they help the reader to relate to the story and to the narrator as a child.

Essay Topic 3

In Cathedral, the husband and Robert are very different people. Robert is blind and the husband is not, but that is not the most important different between them. How do these characters exchange sight in the evening they spend together? How does the evening change both men?

(see the answer keys)

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