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 took the wrong side.
(b) It ran out of money.
(c) It ignored the psychological aspect of warfare.
(d) It made secret pacts it could not honor.

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

3. Punishment for crime is too often what, according to Mencken?
(a) Cruel and unusual.
(b) The product of poor people exerting influence over the rich.
(c) Effective, which results in the murder of the human spirit.
(d) Hypocritical and dishonest.

4. Per Chapter 2, what kind of person has Mencken never met?
(a) A quack with a conscience.
(b) A metaphysician who was intellectually curious.
(c) An altruist who actually did good for anybody.
(d) A moral man that was honorable.

5. What does the "metaphysical" type of person inevitably do?
(a) Becomes paralyzed with fear over the enormity of the universe.
(b) Begs for spare change.
(c) Tips their hat for no reason.
(d) Demands to know what you mean, even when it is obvious.

Short Answer Questions

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

2. Why might "reflective and skeptical men" refrain from suicide?

3. What is Mencken's opinion of original Christians?

4. Who does Mencken dub "The Lady of Joy"?

5. Which politician does Mencken refer to as "a good man in a bad trade"?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Summarize Mencken's appraisal of Abraham Lincoln.

9. What is the degree of women's "civility" according to Mencken? How does emotion factor in to civility?

10. 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?

(see the answer keys)

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