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 Mr. Muirhead say he always talks to young men?

2. Where is the story Murderers set?

3. Who are Evie and Lydia?

4. Where does Beth tell Casey he has to go by himself the evening of the full moon?

5. In Aunt Granny Lith, what does Nomey give Beth to wear?

Short Essay Questions

1. In Men Under Water, who is the narrator's wife, and how does she feel about him working for Gunther? What does the narrator do for a living?

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

3. What does G.R. ask Cody after he hears Cody's story of his near accident off the mountain that day?

4. Who is Vopotik in the story Helping?

5. In the story Helping, who are Elliot and Grace and what do they do for a living? How are their jobs similar and how are they different?

6. Where is the priest going at the end of Departures, and where has he been? How is he traveling?

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

8. How does Casey know Aunt Granny Lith, and what does he do when he sees her again?

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

10. In the story Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been, who is Arnold French, and how does he strike up a conversation with Connie?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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.

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

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.

(see the answer keys)

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