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. Where do Sparky Smith and the narrator attend school?

2. Who is Danica writing a postcard to about which that Jane criticizes her?

3. What do Margaret's family members learn about Dr. Sakuma?

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

5. What do Connie and Arnold find they are both listening to on the radio at the same time?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

4. In the story Daddy Garbage, how does Strayhorn discover the baby in the box?

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

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

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

8. In the story Dog Heaven, who is Sparky Smith and what game does he and the narrator play together?

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

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In his story The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien differentials between the physical things the soldiers carried on their backs and those they carry in their hearts and minds. Contrast and compare the physical and emotional things the men carried and how each affect a soldier.

Essay Topic 2

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 3

Susan Power entitled her story about Margaret Many Wounds' death Moonwalk. Why did she use this title? How does the title mean more than one thing in the context of the story?

(see the answer keys)

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