The structure of the short story “The Test” by Angelica Gibbs is simple and includes narrative techniques like foreshadowing, and backstory…




The middle of the short story develops the rising action as two inspectors arrive – their “very brisk and military” appearance foreshadows the fact that the inspector who drives with Marian will take advantage of his authority. One of the inspectors is the one who flunked Marian the first time. When she sees him, she reacts: “Marian's hands tightened on the wheel.”. This marks a tension point in the story, which shows that Marian is afraid that she will have to face him again.

One of the inspectors approaches the two women and asks Mrs. Ericson if she wants to come along with him and Marian. She refuses because she fears she will make Marian self-conscious. This is another foreshadowing element for the conflict between Marian and the inspector, as she is left alone with him, with no one sympathetic to support her.

Another foreshadowing element is revealed through the inspector’s overly familiar attitude towards Marian, who calls her “Mandy” and “Mandy-Lou”. His use of nicknames instead of her real name shows his lack of respect for her, which will become more obvious throughout the story. Moreover, he later calls her “Mistress Mandy” , faking respect to mock the fact that she is college educated.

The driving test begins and while Marian makes the maneuvers indicated by the inspector, he asks her various questions.

When he learns that she is 27, the inspector remarks: “ ‘Old enough to have quite a flock of pickaninnies, eh?’…

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