Unit 1 – Short and Sweet
Activity 1 – Elements of Fiction
Getting Ready for the Test
Now that you have read the short story Test by Theodore Thomas, answer the following reading comprehension and creative writing questions in the space provided below each question.
Reading Comprehension Questions:
Read the text below.
Definitions of science fiction differ greatly. However, the basic principles usually attributed to this genre of literature are the following:
The setting must be different from our everyday world; such as in the future, in space, or in an alternate past or timeline.
The plot of the story must rely upon imaginary, but somewhat plausible, scientific or technological elements.
Science fiction stories often act as warnings, forcing readers to consider the possible impacts of our present actions, and development of technology on the future of our world.
Fantasy fiction, like science fiction, is largely based upon imaginary elements. However, the fantastical elements in this genre are not possible or inexplicable by known scientific laws. Some examples of these elements include magic, and the supernatural. Fairy tales such as Alice in Wonderland and magic realism such as Lord of the Rings are both examples of fantasy fiction.
1. The short story Test can be classified as either science fiction or fantasy fiction. Use specific examples from the story to explain whether or not you agree with this statement. I believe that the short story Test is classified as science fiction and fantasy fiction. The author has used through government agents represented as uniformed men in the story the power of hypnosis to state fantasy fiction. This will allow them to test their abilities before presenting them with their drivers licence. As quoted in the story “We hypnotized you to make you think you were in an accident. We do it to everybody these days before they get their driver’s licence. Makes better drivers of them. Makes drivers more carful for the rest of their lives”. As science fiction is defined as a setting in the future, past or even in space, the author throughout the story brings us to a place of the future. “Killing people doesn’t seem to bother you. We can’t let your kind run around loose any more”. They have used the power of the future to put the new found drivers in a simulator to find out how they would react to such experiences. No one has ever had the feeling of killing a human being without it actually happening. It leads them to acknowledge who would make good drivers and keep the roads safe. These are the reasons I agree that the short story Test can be classified as either science fiction or fantasy fiction.
2. The climax is the most crucial part of the story, during which the protagonist faces a major conflict and often goes through a turning point. Keeping in mind this definition, identify the climax of the story, using specific examples from the story to support your answer. The climax of the short story is the moment when Robert Proctor comes to the realisation that his third accident will lead to him killing an innocent human being. It is that short moment before the collision when Robert makes eye contact with the man behind the wheel of the other car and the girl sitting beside him that fills Roberts eyes with fear. It is there in that moment that Roberts life will forever be changed. This is therefore the highest point in the short story.
3. The setting is the time and location of a story. Identify and describe the two distinct settings in the story Test. The two distinct settings in the story Test are on the Highway (Turnpike) as well as in the testing center room where the hypnosis of Robert Proctor took place.
4. Throughout the story, Robert Proctor is faced with several conflicts, which he must overcome. Provide two examples of conflicts from the story, explaining who or what is opposing him in each situation. Robert Proctor is faced with many different conflicts throughout