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

2. In Tall Tales from the Mekong Delta, where is the protagonist going when she first meets Lenny?

3. Where do the couple stay for the weekend in A Romantic Weekend?

4. Where does Hattie Benedict move after the blizzard?

5. What instructions does the speaker give in The Girl about eating?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. 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?

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

6. In the story A Romantic Weekend, where are Beth and her companion going for their romantic weekend, and how does the narrator describe the apartment?

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

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

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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 2

What does the title "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" mean in relation to the main character Connie?

Essay Topic 3

In her short story, Tan describes "invisible strength." How does MeiMei interpret the concept of invisible strength? What does she accomplish using this concept? What other female in another story uses what could be called invisible strength and how is it similar to MeiMei's?

(see the answer keys)

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