The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories Test | Final 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. Why does Aunt Granny Lith haunt Casey in his marriage?

2. Why does Mr. Muirhead say he always talks to young men?

3. How old is the priest in Departures when he goes by train to his family's home after six years away?

4. What happens to Cody as he turns to go home from his nap on the rocks?

5. Who gives birth at the end of Daddy Garbage?

Short Essay Questions

1. Who is Vopotik in the story Helping?

2. What news does the narrator receive about Sparky Smith shortly after her move from Fort Niagara?

3. Who is the narrator of Lawns, and what is her crime?

4. Before she dies, what story does Margaret tell Evie and Lydia that change their lives?

5. In Rules of the Game, what is Meimei's mother's "chang"?

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

7. What inspiration does Gunther in Men Under Water get about his next screenplay after visiting Acid Rain? Who does he find waiting for him at his home when he and the narrator pull up to his house?

8. Where are the soldiers stationed in The Things They Carried, and who are the main characters?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

When Danica asks Mr. Muirhead, in the story Train, whether she and Jane will be friends forever, how does he respond? Why does he know these things about his daughter, and likewise know Danica is not like his daughter?

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

Chose three female characters from any of the short stories in the book. Discuss what these three women have in common with each other, and how they are different from each other. Include the ways in which the woman are victims and of what or whom.

(see the answer keys)

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