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. What can the boys in Murderers see from their perch on the water tank?

2. Who is Buck in Cody's Story?

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

4. Where do Sparky Smith and the narrator attend school?

5. Where are Jane's parents drinking on the train?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

3. Who is Vopotik in the story Helping?

4. 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?

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

6. 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?

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

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

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

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

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

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 3

In Cathedral, the husband and Robert are very different people. Robert is blind and the husband is not, but that is not the most important different between them. How do these characters exchange sight in the evening they spend together? How does the evening change both men?

(see the answer keys)

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