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 Testimony of Pilot, who is Lillian?

2. In Cathedral, who is Robert?

3. Whose music does Dzia-Dzia hear while he sits at the other end of the kitchen table from Michael?

4. What kind of car does the narrator of Rock Springs steal?

5. In Minor Heroism, what happens between father and son one New Year's Eve that shocks the father?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why does Delores kill her husband Michael in Scott Bradfield's story "The Darling"?

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

3. What story does Edna tell the narrator of Rock Springs about her pet, a monkey?

4. What happens to Ad Magic in the beginning of A White Horse, and how do the people he is with react to his situation?

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

6. 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?

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

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

9. Who does the mother in the story The First Day ask the woman at Walker Jones School and why?

10. How does the woman in The Darling meet Lenny?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the use of metaphors in the story Men Under Water. How do they reflect the relationship between the narrator and Gunther?

Essay Topic 2

Georgie describes his job to a hitchhiker he meets and says "I save lives." Discuss the lives Georgie saves in the story. Do you think this is an accurate description of his job? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

In the story Lawn, the narrator steals from the mail room of her dormitory. In her life, she has had a great deal stolen from her. Discuss what the narrator steals and why, and then what has been stolen from her and why. Can she ever be compensated for what has been stolen from her? Why or why not?

(see the answer keys)

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