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. Who are Evie and Lydia?

2. At dinner, how does Jane introduce herself and Danica to the couple at their table?

3. Who does the narrator meet observing a chess game in the park one afternoon in Rules of the Game?

4. In Rules of the Game, who in the narrator's family received a chess set at the annual church Christmas party?

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

Short Essay Questions

1. In Cody's Story, who are Cody and G.R.? What do they do for a living and where?

2. In the story Rules of the Game, who is Lau Fo?

3. 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?

4. In the story Murderers, who do the young boys want to see when they climb up onto the water tower, and why?

5. How do the boys in Murderers get caught on their misadventure, and what happens to them?

6. In Moonwalk, who is Margaret Many Wounds and what is happening to her as the story opens? Who is taking care of her?

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

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

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

10. How does Connie's mother treat her?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

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?

Essay Topic 2

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 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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