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. What aspect of Lincoln's historical persona does Mencken doubt, or at least question?
(a) His reputation for being a great orator.
(b) His adherence to Christianity.
(c) His pragmatic, practical approach to political problems.
(d) His status as an outsider and a "dark horse."

2. What aspect of President Grant does Mencken admire?
(a) His reputation for a clean, corruption-free administration.
(b) His oratorical prowess.
(c) His hard-living, genuine lifestyle.
(d) His military prowess.

3. Who rules American culture, according to Chapter 10?
(a) Quacks such as chiropractors.
(b) The learned aristocracy.
(c) Psychologists and doctors.
(d) The uncivilized mob.

4. What is Mencken's opinion of the American South?
(a) He thinks it is a spiritually enlightened place.
(b) He loathes it and believes it to be a crude and uncultured place.
(c) He thinks highly of it because of its emphasis on grassroots values.
(d) He believes that southerners are intellectually superior to northerners, but rarely show it.

5. Why might "reflective and skeptical men" refrain from suicide?
(a) For the sense of humor in life.
(b) For the thrill of physical activity.
(c) For the great women in life.
(d) For the good food in life.

Short Answer Questions

1. What kind of promises do politicians make?

2. What does the "believer" type of person inevitably do?

3. How does Mencken describe Oliver Wendell Holmes?

4. What is the fundamental flaw of the democratic style of government?

5. What is Mencken's belief about crime?

Short Essay Questions

1. Describe Mencken's thought experiment, in which he imagines if the Confederacy had won the Civil War.

2. What does Mencken see as a popular misconception about death? What is his opinion of suicide?

3. Summarize Mencken's appraisal of Abraham Lincoln.

4. What is Mencken's take on the universality of morality? Can morality grow and change, or is it static?

5. What does Mencken feel about the relationship between science and religion?

6. Is morality necessary in Mencken's view? How many people are moral people? Is there a good and evil, or is that a human-created concept?

7. Describe Mencken's contention that democracy is a "self-limiting disease." What does he mean by that? Is there any good aspects to democracy?

8. What effect did the Civil War have on the American South, and why was this conflict so disastrous to Mencken from a cultural standpoint?

9. What is the average person's opinion of government, according to Mencken?

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

(see the answer keys)

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