A Mencken Chrestomathy Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Why did England experience particular difficulties in World War I according to Mencken?
(a) It ignored the psychological aspect of warfare.
(b) It took the wrong side.
(c) It ran out of money.
(d) It made secret pacts it could not honor.

2. In "female novels," how are males portrayed according to Mencken?
(a) As "charlatans."
(b) As "heartthrobs."
(c) As "he-men."
(d) As "boobs."

3. What was the most damning effect of the Civil War, in regard to the South?
(a) It destroyed the Southern aristocracy.
(b) It introduced technology into an innocent and primitive society.
(c) It created the Southern aristocracy.
(d) It replaced religious values with secular ones.

4. How does Mencken describe Oliver Wendell Holmes?
(a) He was a completely inept United States Senator.
(b) He was a brilliant reasoner.
(c) He was a tool of liberal elites.
(d) He was a tool of conservative fuddy-duddies.

5. How does Mencken characterize a woman's level of civility?
(a) Women are much more civilized than men.
(b) Women are relatively uncivilized.
(c) Women do not submit to civilization and must be coerced.
(d) Women have created their own civilization quite distinct from men.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does the "romantic" type of person inevitably do?

2. What is Mencken's opinion of the belief that man has a soul, according to Chapter 1?

3. What is Mencken's assessment of Abraham Lincoln?

4. Why is the culture of the United States deficient, according to Chapter 10?

5. What does the "metaphysical" type of person inevitably do?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is democracy's fundamental flaw? What aspect of human nature motivates democracy?

2. Summarize Mencken's appraisal of William Jennings Bryan. How is Mencken's opinion related to the Scopes Monkey Trial?

3. What is Mencken's view of monogamy/marriage?

4. Discuss Mencken's history of democracy. Before it arrived, what did people think of democracy? How was it conceived? How did it evolve?

5. Who is Professor Thorstein Veblen, and what is Mencken's opinion of him and his work?

6. In Chapter 1, what comparison does Mencken make between man and animal? Who is "superior"?

7. What is Mencken's view of punishment for crime? What is the function of punishment?

8. Describe Mencken's opinion of George Washington. Why does Mencken admire him? Why doesn't Mencken believe Washington would do well in a contemporary political climate?

9. What does Mencken have to say about politicians? What kind of people are they? How do they operate?

10. Per Chapter 2, describe Mencken's summation of the following types of people: the romantic, the believer, the metaphysician, and the altruist.

(see the answer keys)

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