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 Rock Springs, what is the narrator's daughter's name?

2. What color was the vintage Thunderbird?

3. What is the young girl carrying with her on the first day?

4. What does the couple decide to do after their first night together on their romantic weekend?

5. In White Horse, who does the white horse belong to?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does the narrator of Testimony of Pilot lose his hearing?

2. 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?

3. In The Fat Girl, what is the secret that follows Louise from high school to college?

4. What are some of the things the speaker in Girl encourages the young girl to learn how to do in the home?

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

6. Who is Petra in Ann Beattie's story "A Vintage Thunderbird"?

7. What memory does Bryan relate in the third part of the story Minor Heroism?

8. Who is speaking in Girl, and to who is she directing her instructions?

9. In the story Rock Springs, how do Edna, Cheryl and the narrator end up in Rock Springs?

10. In Carol Bly's story "Talk of Heroes," who is Willi Varig?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In his Introduction, Tobias Wolff quotes Kafka as saying literature is like an axe with which to break "the frozen sea within us." What did Kafka mean by this? What two stories in the collection had this affect on you and why?

Essay Topic 2

The Fat Girl chronicles the story of a young woman with an eating disorder. How does Louise suffer at the hands of those who wish to help her? Discuss her relationships with her mother, her college roommate, and her husband in your essay.

Essay Topic 3

Susan Power entitled her story about Margaret Many Wounds' death Moonwalk. Why did she use this title? How does the title mean more than one thing in the context of the story?

(see the answer keys)

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