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 kind of epilepsy does Ad Magic have?

2. What show does Robert and his hosts end up watching on television?

3. In the story Wickedness, where does Ainslie Classen find shelter in the blizzard?

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

5. In The Fat Girl, what did Louise's mother start talking to her about when Louise was eight years old?

Short Essay Questions

1. What secret does the narrator of Lawns finally reveal to her boyfriend and her mother? How do they react?

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

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

4. In the short story Train, who are the two little girls on the train, how old are they, and where are they going?

5. 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?

6. Who does Strayhorn immediately find to help him figure out what to do with the dead baby and why?

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

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

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

10. Who is the main character of Departures? How old is he when the story opens? Where is he going?

Essay Topics

Essay Topic 1

Alcohol is a theme in some of the stories in this collection. Compare the drinking and the effect drinking has on these characters and their close relationships: Walter in All The Way To Flagstaff, Arizona; Willi Vorig in Talk of Heroes, and Lenny in Tall Tales From the Mekong Delta.

Essay Topic 2

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?

Essay Topic 3

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

(see the answer keys)

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