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 or who rules the American South?
(a) Baptist and Methodist "barbarism".
(b) A love for automobiles and technology.
(c) An aristocratic class.
(d) Secular liberals.

2. Which is NOT one of the reasons Mencken praises George Washington?
(a) He was a pious man.
(b) He scorned foreign entanglements.
(c) He ignored the private morals of his neighbors.
(d) He enjoyed whiskey.

3. What kind of people are most often forgotten by historical records, per Chapter 12?
(a) Respectful and intelligent men.
(b) The commoners.
(c) Great warriors.
(d) Courageous women.

4. What is the purpose of monogamy, according to Mencken?
(a) Marriage serves to kill and restrain passion.
(b) Marriage serves to emphasize romantic love.
(c) Marriage serves to protect society from itself.
(d) Marriage serves to enhance and legitimize passion.

5. What does Mencken NOT believe about the possibility for morality to change over time?
(a) Morality can adopt new ideas, like Christian beliefs.
(b) Different subsections of morality can grow over time.
(c) Morality was determined in ancient times, and has not changed.
(d) Morality evolves and grows over time.

Short Answer Questions

1. What comparison does Mencken make between man and animal in Chapter 1?

2. What "call" does Mencken make to America's poets in Chapter 7?

3. How has Mencken organized his book?

4. What is Man's one unique characteristic, per Chapter 1?

5. What aspect of Lincoln's historical persona does Mencken doubt, or at least question?

Short Essay Questions

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

2. In Chapter 1, how does Mencken's view of humanity coincide with that of the modern scientist?

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

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

5. Describe Mencken's conception of the Anglo-Saxon American. What are this person's flaws?

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

7. What is Mencken's view of romantic love?

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

9. What is Mencken's opinion of the contemporary American South? What are its features? What rules the South?

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

(see the answer keys)

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