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. Privately, politicians are what kind of people?
(a) Exceedingly eccentric.
(b) Criminals.
(c) Charming individuals.
(d) Lying wretches.

2. How would George Washington fare in today's political climate?
(a) He would have no chance of winning any political office.
(b) He would be arrested for corruption.
(c) He would be bewildered by modern methods and unable to perform his duties.
(d) He would easily be elected president.

3. At what event did Mencken first personally encounter William Jennings Bryan?
(a) The funeral of Grover Cleveland.
(b) The 1912 Democratic National Convention.
(c) The Scopes Monkey trial.
(d) Bryan's congressional trial for corruption.

4. What kind of promises do politicians make?
(a) Ones they can fulfill.
(b) Ones they cannot deliver.
(c) Ones they have polled voters about.
(d) Ones they have no intention of fulfilling.

5. What is the "altruist" motivated by?
(a) Being uncomfortable with unhappy people around him or her.
(b) Out and out greed.
(c) A selfish sense of self-worth.
(d) A divine inspiration.

Short Answer Questions

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

2. What does democracy ruin, according to Mencken?

3. What is the "average man's" opinion of government?

4. Mencken compares Theodore Roosevelt's political ideas to which other politician's?

5. Punishment for crime is too often what, according to Mencken?

Short Essay Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. What does Mencken believe about the nature of man and God? What is the consequence for believing in God? What about the soul?

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

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

(see the answer keys)

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