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. What does Louise have hidden in the back of her closet behind her stuffed animals?

2. In The Darling, what is Dolores Starr's unusual occupation?

3. What is Walter's problem?

4. What does Ad Magic give to the young boy with the performing monkey?

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

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

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

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

5. In the story Emergency, who is Terrence Weber? What unusual thing has happened to him?

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

7. In the story Chopin in Winter, what do Michael and Dzia-Dzia talk about at night and why?

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

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

10. 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?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

What unusual literary device does Jamaica Kincaid use in her story Girl? Why and how does this device succeed in this piece?

Essay Topic 2

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

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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